Monday, 11 April 2016

On Stage: Protomartyr @ Paradiso



The album The Agent Intellect took me by storm last year and ended up high on my list of best albums. Protomartyr play dark post-punk with intelligent lyrics that gets under your skin. So it was about time that I would go see them live.

Protomartyr at Paradiso Amsterdam, April 8 2016



A sold out small hall awaits the band from Detroit in anticipation. You can read many good things about their performances and my expectations are high. The first impression is that the band look a bit modest. Singer Joe Casey definitely isn't exactly a rock star and has been compared to a bank clerk or some kind of salesman. But looks can be deceiving and are irrelevant to this band anyway.



Casey may be the anti hero, but the longer you look at him, the more impressive his posture gets. He has one hand in his pocket and looks like he's giving a speech. Sometimes he's leaning on the mic stand almost looking bored. But at the same time he's half singing half speaking his lyrics, almost spitting them out. When he's using extra force his face changes into an awkward sight, almost looking drunk. This may not sound very appealing, in reality it is, this strange looking rock singer, surrounded by his band members that all seem to be in their own world. Bass player Scott Davidson is constantly bopping, guitar player Greg Ahee has his eyes closed a lot, playing totally in the moment, and drummer Alex Leonard keeps pounding his skins, skilfully keeping everything together.



Altogether it results in a very tight set with great speed, which has heavy sounding grooves and ringing guitar lines that form the perfect basis for Casey's vocals. He isn't much of a talker which gives the show great momentum. Every song is a winner and hits everyone with great impact, as if you get slapped in the face each time. At the end of the show there's still some time left and the band plays two more songs without leaving the stage, which would only break their momentum. In not even an hour they played seventeen songs and you know you've seem an impressive show, but somehow can't explain why. I think it's the combination of very strong songs and a great band that is shy of rock star nonsense and unnecessary frills, which results in a raw and honest sound. Seeing is believing so catch them on stage when they are around.



All Pictures

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Setlist:
01. Cowards Starve
02. I Forgive You
03. Blues Festival
04. Pontiac 87
05. I Stare at Floors
06. Scum, Rise!
07. What the Wall Said
08. The Devil in His Youth
09. Pagans
10. Feral Cats
11. Uncle Mother's
12. Dope Cloud
13. The Hermit
14. Clandestine Time
15. Why Does It Shake?
16. Ain't So Simple
17. Come & See


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