Helix & Honeymoon Suite – Casino NB – 01/11/14

Posted: 14th January 2014 by refrainmusic in Concerts

Tonight was like stepping back in time to my teenage years, to music that got blasted on 45’s and cassette tapes on Ghettoblasters, tonight was a throw back to good ol’ guitar laden rock music.  Live at Casino NB on this balmy January night was Helix as the precursor for Honeymoon Suite…holy 80’s flashbacks for me.

Starting right on time, and I have to emphasize that fact, at the Casino I’ve yet to see a show that starts more than five minutes late.  I say this due to all the ticket holders that were still coming in during the second and third song of the opening band.  If this venue says the show starts at a certain time, you can pretty much guarantee it’s going to, if you don’t want to miss it, be there early.

Up first was Helix, with little fan fare and no intro other than the dimming of the house lights the band walked on stage and launched into their first song.  Helix formed in 1974, and are best known for their 1984 single “Rock You”.  The original lineup was formed by drummer Bruce Arnold, and consisted of lead vocalist Brian Vollmer, The history of the band has been marked by many lineup changes, with Vollmer being the sole constant member and only remaining member of the original lineup.  Helix have toured with bands such as Kiss, Aerosmith, Rush, Alice Cooper, among others…their most recent album Vagabond Bones, was released in 2009.

Brian Vollmer - Helix - Casino NB - 01/11/14

Brian Vollmer – Helix – Casino NB – 01/11/14 ~ Refrain Photography

It was obvious in the crowd that there were long time fans of the band in attendance as a few notes of a classic song would play, even some of the less well known Helix songs, and it would bring cheers from fans.  Of course lead singer Brian Vollmer and crew rolled through popular songs like “Good To The Last Drop” and being joined by local singer Melanie Morgan on “Heavy Metal Love” which was a treat for the crowd.  Morgan was on the CBC tv show ‘Cover Me Canada’ (finishing second) and was mentored by Brian Vollmer when singing that song, joining her onstage on the show.  The crowd loved seeing Morgan and Vollmer reprise that performance tonight.

John Claus - Helix - Casino NB - 01/11/14

John Claus – Helix – Casino NB – 01/11/14 ~ Refrain Photography

Helix seemed to be excited to be playing their first show of 2014, with great guitar solos provided by John Claus, and especially Vollmer who even lost his shoes during some of his many onstage antics, at one point asking the crowd if they locate the one he was missing to send it back on up (someone said that shoe ended up behind the drum riser).  Vollmer had shoes again by the time band rocked into their last song, the aforementioned 1984 hit, “Rock You”.  After about an hour long set, the band said farewell and the crowd cheered them off the stage.

Next up was Honeymoon Suite, formed in 1981 in Niagra Falls, they had a slew of hit singles in Canada, some making it into high profile tv shows (Miami Vice) and feature films (Lethal Weapon), with their first single ‘New Girl Now’ making it to the top 50 in the US.  The band’s name was a nod to the fact that Niagra Falls is the unofficial Honeymoon capital.  The last time I saw Honeymoon Suite they had Lee Aaron opening up for them, another great show and I didn’t know what to expect almost 20 years later.

Johnnie Dee - Honeymoon Suite - Casino NB - 01/11/14

Johnnie Dee – Honeymoon Suite – Casino NB – 01/11/14 ~ Refrain Photography

Johnny Dee was in great form interacting with the audience with a smile on his face that was genuine.  He had the crowd doing sing-a-long’s with popular songs, treating us to a solid 80’s rock show complete with guitar, drum and keyboard solo’s.  A little surprisingly the band have lost nothing musically and Dee very little at all vocally, they are very accomplished at what they do and they do it well.  An oddity I did find was Dee tended to wander the stage a bit aimlessly, which led to some extended intro’s and bridges to songs, I’m not sure if this was intentional but it seemed a bit strange to me.

When they belted out the fan favourites  like ‘New Girl Now’,  ‘Wave Babies’, and ‘Burning in Love’ the crowd was dancing, singing and completely loving it, some of these people seemingly reliving the big hair days (minus the hair) and this band brings it all back to them in droves. 

Derry Grehan - Honeymoon Suite - Casino NB - 01/11/14

Derry Grehan – Honeymoon Suite – Casino NB – 01/11/14 – Refrain Photography

After a single song encore (the keyboard player started a song and Dee said ‘nah, not that one I want to rock out’) they left the stage with smiles and waves and an appreciative crowd cheering them away.  I was a little disappointed not to hear ‘Lethal Weapon’ but what I did hear was a band from the 80’s that has not lost a step like many do and can still put on a heck of a show,  I can say if you get the chance to see Honeymoon Suite, don’t miss out…hey still have it.

Thanks to Helix, Honeymoon Suite, PPRL, and Casino NB for another great show!  Until next time!