Benjamin Weikel is known for his extremely tight and technical drumming. He’s also known for his drumming style. Which is like no other.
Benjamin and Brandon of The Helio Sequence, live at The Neptune Theater, Seattle. (Click for bigger. © William Anthony)
Last weekend, I photographed The Helio Sequence, almost 10 years to the day when I first photographed them. (See here.) It was a wonderful show and it was really great getting caught up with these two very talented guys. I am thinking of doing a retrospective on my ten years shooting them. If memory serves, I’ve photographed them live three times and one in-studio at KEXP. Every time was memorable. I have photographic proof.
Benjamin & Brandon backstage at The Showbox, Seattle. Circa ‘03
(© William Anthony)
This weekend I was in Portland visiting friends. While in a coffee shop I ran into Brandon Summers, frontman for one of my favorite Portland bands, The Helio Sequence. He was there with his wife and two beautiful kids. It was then that it dawned on me how much time had passed since the first time I saw, met and photographed Brandon and Benjamin.
As evidenced by the photo above, we first met at what is now called The Showbox at the Market. I think it was ‘03. I was enamored with their sound and intrigued by how it was produced by this shy, understated two-piece. I’ve been following them ever since. Around ‘04 their song Let it Fall Apart was the soundtrack to a personal heartache. Their most recent and incredible record, Keep Your Eyes Ahead, also scored a personal growth period. Funny how music does that.
I had read in the music press that the above pairings were no coincidence as Brandon himself persevered through some difficult times in the intervening years. The details of which are laid out in Keep Your Eyes Ahead. Buy it. You’ll be wiser for it.
And so here we stood, in a coffee shop nearly a decade since I took that photo of two young and extremely talented, if a bit awkward, guys. Both fiddled with their hands for lack of anything else to do besides squirm. This time around, we talked about Portland vs. Seattle and other things. I told him how great their show at The Doug Fir Lounge was during Musicfest Northwest. It had been the first show they played in a long time since starting work on their forthcoming record (due out late this summer). It was a homecoming of sorts, and not just for the band. The show was, for the lack of a better word, magical. I felt so comfortable in the timber-lined environs of The Doug Fir, where I have seen countless shows over the years. The hometown crowd ate it up. The room buzzed with excitement and it felt like some sort of circle coming around full.
Funny how music does that.