For the first time in the history of the small 21-and-over club, the Cellar Door opened its doors for an all-ages show that young music lovers had been waiting for. The catch? The show ran for only two strict hours. On Sunday August 17, kids as young as 5 were admitted to the $12 dollar show. New Zealand-based indie rocker Liam Finn and his band kicked off the show at 7:00 p.m. with music from his most recent album, The Nihilist. Finn, who is son of esteemed songwriter Neil Finn, drew the crowd with catchy and upbeat tunes such as “Second Chance,” slower and melodic but equally rich songs such as  “Snug and Fuck” and long and psychedelic whirls such as “Miracle Glance.” The heavy bass paired with textured drumming, strong guitar solos and sultry vocals from Finn’s keyboardist left the crowd dancing and wanting more. “Let’s pretend we’re all in Hollywood and be cheesy for a second,” Finn said to the crowd. With stage antics and voice that channeled Wayne Coyne and a layered sound that resembled a lush Beatles and MGMT, Liam Finn’s sound was hard to shake off after only a hour of play. By 7:55 p.m., the crowd swelled to about 40 to 50 people on the main floor while both bands hurriedly transitioned, and by 8 p.m., the Oregon-based duo The Helio Sequence played their third show in Visalia. For many who have been following this band since their first show at Howie & Son’s pizza parlor about eight years ago and again at the Cellar Door in 2009, their long-awaited return was a major delight.



The Sub Pop records pair played immediately into their first track of 2012’s Negotiations, “One More Time.” The familiar and unique drumming by Benjamin Weikel echoed through the small club, while the soft and melodic voice of Brandon Summers lifted the crowd’s anticipation. For much of the older crowd, it was a bittersweet moment, and for the rest of the newer and much younger crowd, it was a musical experience. It took no time for the duo to flood the room with their ambient and psychedelic sound. With Weikel and his intricate and shimmering reverberation from the drums and keyboard paired with Summers’ lofty yet gentle voice that included several guitar switches and an added harmonica, the Helio Sequence is built for intimate shows that bring a long-lasting impression on their audience. Apart from the band’s unique sound and extraordinary musicianship, it is also perhaps Summers’ songwriting that strikes a chord with their followers. For the next hour, the duo swayed between all four of their last albums, with songs drenched with love and loss, such as “Back To This,” and “Lately,” to thought-provoking “Hallelujah,” to the motivational and moving “Keep Your Eyes Ahead,” and to the energetic and enthusiastic “Harmonica Song.” “It’s been a long time since we’ve been here,” Summers said to the crowd. “It’s great to be back. I always tell other touring bands, ‘Go to Visalia. Trust me.’” It was incredible by how much the band completed in exactly an hour.  Their set was over by 8:55 p.m. and by 9 p.m., most of the crowd was diffused by the Cellar Door staff.



As per city ordinance, everyone 21 and under was promptly ordered to leave the club by 9 p.m. The show was short and compacted, and by no means gave justice to either the bands or the audience, but it was just enough to leave a sweet aftertaste.

Photos by Juan Verduzco for The Tastemaker & Sound N Vision. The rest of the show’s photos can be found here.