On Friday October 21, the Helio Sequence played the 2011 City Arts Festival in one of the more unusual venues, the Pacific Science Center’s Laser Dome. They played a mix of new songs from their next album-in-progress, songs from their last album, 2008’s Keep Your Eyes Ahead, and even older ones.
I wouldn’t have said before that I really knew their material, but after recognizing “Can’t Say No”, “Keep Your Eyes Ahead”, and “Hallelujah” from their last album, and the “Harmonica Song” from 2004’s Love and Distance, I realized I was more familiar with them than I’d thought and I liked them quite a bit, actually. Really, their chamber/prog pop-rock suits me very well, so from now on I’ll have to pay more attention.
The laser show mostly featured geometric patterns and spirals, with occasional flashes of more complex shapes or drawings. Toward the middle of the set, a quieter gentle song was accompanied by an aurora on starfield effect that was very pretty; that combination was featured again toward the finale. The laser show was cool and fun to watch, offering a pretty trippy experience lying on the floor staring up into endless spirals while listening to the music.
As a concert event, it did feel a bit disjointed: either I could lie back and watch the show, or I could sit up and watch the band. The laser show didn’t need the live band to be cool, and the Helio Sequence certainly didn’t need the lasers to be worth seeing and hearing. Still, it was a fun change from the usual concert experience, and I was glad I could be there for it.