Monday, March 26, 2018

Protest the Hero w/ Thank You Scientist + Closure in Moscow @ Varsity Theater 3/25/18

The 10th Anniversary of Fortress, Protest the Hero's 2nd full-length album from 2008, they of course played it in-full.

The support acts, Thank You Scientist who played 1st, and Closure in Moscow, I had mild curiosity about each at best.

Thank You Scientist: I arrived during maybe their 2nd or 3rd song unfortunately as I didn't enter the building til probably around 10 after 8PM (per waiting to pay the meter on the street at 8PM exactly).

I have known about, and heard their music over the last 5 or 6 years especially, and know they have a following. I know a lot of like-minded fans with similar taste in modern progressive rock who really dig them. And they played both on Progressive Nation at Sea along with touring with Bent Knee among others (Coheed I think).

But I struggled with them per they always sounded like if Claudio Sanchez were singing in a Jazz/Horn/Violin or even Ska band at points. And while combining those things together might work well for some, especially his vocals being so much like Claudio, it was hard to get past.

So, hearing and seeing 2/3 or more of their live show last night, my feeling isn't dramatically different. At 1 point I kind of wondered if they would be best all-instrumental, because the musicians are very good and the chops + compositions overall work. Prog, but not too excessive.

And I can say, the last track they did "My Famed Disappearing Act" may have worked best for me, or at least was my favorite.

I think I may force myself to check their music out more or again, just to see if something clicks. They do actually remind me of Kindo in some ways of course, but also SNARKY PUPPY, except with a singer who sounds highly like Claudio.

Closure in Moscow: To be honest, I am not going to go into tons of details. Simply put, my 1st exposure to them and their debut album in 2009? 2010? sometime around then, was they were almost a clear copycat of The Mars Volta without the songwriting or even interesting instrumental chops.
And I've heard their more recent music has been more stripped down.

And it was for the most. I just kept hearing the Volta, but with no amazing, memorable melodies or sections.

I guess I can say they did have good energy and did play to the crowd a bit, but I guess they may not be for me at this point.

Protest the Hero: 10 or so years ago I saw them on the Fortress-tour at Station 4, and while I'm sure the performance was fine, the sound was next to awful. I couldn't hear the vocals at all.

Last night at The Varsity (without original bassist/songwriter Arif), my feeling was this did makeup for that disappointing show many years ago. The sound, while hardly perfect, and despite a bit of a Ne Obliviscaris blast-beat dominated mix, I was still able to hear Roddy's voice much better.

They were consistently energetic as their music gets. It's frantic and crazy fast at times. I did get some chills just remembering how much I loved much of the Fortress album, per I maybe haven't listened to it 10 years (maybe 7 or 8? I can't be sure).

It's a record that has a consistent flow, with dynamics, and doesn't go on too long (like 45 mins?). And I have always felt "Bloodmeat" and "Sequia Throne" are 2 of their best songs.

Now let me just add a very important point in here that I'm sure I have many times in the past, but not recently per I have not had all that much about PtH in many years.

I LOVE their debut album Kezia, and have felt really since 2006 or 2007 when I 1st got into them, was clearly the SUPERIOR album. I even purchased it on Vinyl in the last year or 2. The acoustic sections, production, female vocals and overall epic nature of it (it's a concept album anyway, which Fortress I suppose is as well).

So I had a bias and have seen so many people talk about Fortress being their classic, etc. And while I did always enjoy it, never found it had the depth/magic of Kezia.

But at the same time, I would consider it their 2nd best record still/better than all of the albums they've released since.

It is kind of samey in some ways with the riffs and frequent energy and even many songs in the same key, etc.

But I suppose it works maybe even better live (certainly some of the clipping cymbals/mix/loudness that may be present at points, is not noticed live).

So overall I really enjoyed seeing the whole thing live last night, even with some of the banter/stories from Roddy to the crowd (about Milwaukee, Katy Perry, Chicago Blackhawks + Maple Leafs among other things).

The new track "Chuna Fish" reminded me of naturally, the Pacific Myth stuff which was nice per I really enjoy that EP, save for the fact it's just an EP. And "Sex Tapes" from Scurrilous, maybe is my favorite song from that album (I recall thinking it was the most different from any previous thing they'd done at the time).

So, I guess I can say I got to finally see Protest in a decent/improved/more acceptable sound environment. And they are kind of out-of-my-system, live. I don't know when I will see them again, i suppose it may have to be with another strong support or if they open for someone (like Faith no More? or of course the likes of SikTh or something).

And I did pass on the Godspeed You Black Emperor show a few weeks ago on St.Patty's day for this show per I just saw Godspeed in 2016. But the fact is, I am more into Godspeed now and their new album from last year. But, it was a compromise. Hopefully I'll get to see Godspeed again (it was only their 2nd show in MN in 17 years).

Plus I now know I think how The Varsity will have seating downstairs for seeing like Jessie Ware soon, etc by going last night.

Image may contain: one or more people, people on stage and indoor
photo: Nate W

Protest the Hero
The Dissentience
Bone Marrow
Sequoia Throne
Palms Read
Limb From Limb
Goddess Gagged
Goddess Bound

Sex Tapes
Chuna Fish (New song)

Image may contain: 2 people, people on stage and people playing musical instruments
photo: Nate W

Thank You Scientist
Wrinkle (Instrumental Jam)
The Somnambulist
Blood on the Radio
Mr. Invisible
The Amateur Arsonist's Handbook
In the Company of Worms
My Famed Disappearing Act

Image may contain: 1 person, on stage, night and concert
photo: Nate W

Closure in Moscow
Kissing Cousins
Had to Put It in the Soil
I’m a Ghost of Twilight
Arecibo Message
Reindeer Age
A Night at the Spleen