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Review Tue Mar 27 2012

Review: Protest The Hero @ Bottom Lounge

Protest The Hero shows are a rare breed. Typically, a show's energy starts off strong and, if it's good, that energy--both the band's and the audience's--continues to build momentum throughout the set. If it's its bad that energy tends to trickle out of the venue and by mid-set it's clear that everyone is simply counting down to the final song. Protest The Hero's music, however, puts their shows into a narrow category. The overall upbeat, fast, and aggressive nature of this Canadian metal act's songs leads one to believe that the crowd would respond to them with nonstop movement--be it in the form of moshing, fist pumping or serious head banging.

IMG_0293-20120325-Protest The Hero_17.jpg

Photo by Steve Stearns

The problem is that Protest The Hero's songs are also persistently complex. There's barely time to recover from each tempo change before the next one hits. It's nearly impossible to be concerned with rocking out when you're eye locked on guitarists Tim Millar's and Luke Hoskin's fancy finger work. The rhythmic synthesis of bassist Arif Mirabdolbaghi and drummer Moe Carlson is almost too impeccably tight to believe without visual confirmation. The problem with Protest The Hero is not that they are not fun to watch. It's that they are nearly impossible to take your eyes off of.

The start of Sunday night's show at the Bottom Lounge was no different. Both the crowd's and the band's energy was seemingly underwhelming. Unlike most shows though, instead of further dwindling, crowd's energy grew the longer Protest The Hero played. Predictably older tracks like "Turn Soonest to the Sea" off the band's first album Kezia and Fortress's centerpiece "Sequoia Throne" drew the biggest crowd reactions, but newer tunes like the seriously dynamic single off their latest album "Hair Trigger" also did well to get feet moving.

IMG_0426-20120325-Protest The Hero_18.jpg

Photo by Steve Stearns

Everyone acts differently at a rock show. Some people dance. Some people sing along. Others just simply want to watch. I feared Protest The Hero's pure musicality would lead the majority of the crowd to do nothing but the later, which is fine, but it makes for an awkwardly stiff concert atmosphere. Luckily, by the band's final song audience members were swarming the stage, singer Rody Walker was doing his best to share the mic with anyone in sight ready to scream the lyrics to their best ability and a lack of energy was no where to be found.

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Feature Thu Dec 31 2015

Our Final Transmission Days

By The Gapers Block Transmission Staff

Transmission staffers share their most cherished memories and moments while writing for Gapers Block.

Read this feature »


  Chicago Music Media

Alarm Magazine
Big Rock Candy Mountain
Boxx Magazine
Brooklyn Vegan Chicago
Can You See The Sunset From The Southside
Chicago Reader Music
Chicagoist Arts & Events
Chicago Music Guide
Chicago Singles Club
Country Music Chicago
Cream Team
Dark Jive
The Deli Chicago
Jim DeRogatis
Fake Shore Drive
Gowhere Hip Hop
The Hood Internet
Jaded in Chicago
Largehearted Boy
Little White Earbuds
Live Fix Blog
Live Music Blog
Loud Loop Press
Oh My Rockness
Pop 'stache
Pop Matters
Resident Advisor
Sound Opinions
Sun-Times Music Blog
Theft Liable to Prosecution
Tribune Music
UR Chicago
Victim Of Time
WFMU's Beware of the Blog
Windy City Rock


Abbey Pub
Andy's Jazz Club
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Beat Kitchen
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The Burlington
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Congress Theater
Cubby Bear
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Elbo Room
Empty Bottle
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Honky Tonk BBQ
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Kingston Mines
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Mayne Stage
The Mutiny
Old Town School of Folk Music
Park West
The Promontory
Red Line Tap
Reggie's Rock Club & Music Joint
The Riviera
Thalia Hall
The Shrine
Symphony Center
Tonic Room
Uncommon Ground
The Vic
The Whistler

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  & Shops:

Alligator Records
Beverly Records
Bloodshot Records
Dave's Records
Delmark Records
Drag City
Dusty Groove
Flameshovel Records
Groove Distribution
He Who Corrupts
Jam Productions
Jazz Record Mart
Kranky Records
Laurie's Planet of Sound
Minty Fresh
Numero Group
mP Shows
Permanent Records
Reckless Records
Smog Veil Records
Southport & Northport Records
Thick Records
Thrill Jockey Records Touch & Go/Quarterstick Records
Victory Records

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