PHOTOS AND REVIEW: Protest the Hero @ Sound Academy
Media coverage was tight and my camera was locked up for openers which included TesseracT, who performed their songs precisely but with little heart. They were followed by Maylene and the Sons of Disaster, a real 80’s metal vibe, entertaining and laid back. Both openers dedicated their final song to Protest the Hero.
Following Maylene’s set the red velvet curtain was drawn across the stage and the crowd immediately started pressing forward to fill the pit as I slipped back out to grab my camera.
The curtain finally drew back to chants of “Protest, protest…” from the crowd only to reveal an empty stage, though this did not discourage anyone and the cheering continued until a minute or so later; the guys finally head out, with the biggest smiles on their faces and launched straight into “C’est La Vie”. From this moment it was evident – this was a homecoming for them. The set continued, bouncing seamless from new to old, heavy with tracks from Kezia and Fortress and including “An Apathetic New World” (an unexpected throw back to the politically charged A Calculated Use of Sound EP). Newer tracks included impassioned performances of “Sex Tapes” and “Termites”, the intensity of which could be felt from all members of the band. “Dunsel” closed with the crowd screaming the final line “Just live for the motherfucking day” so loudly the band was practically drowned out. “Blindfolds Aside” saw the heaviest crowd partition, chanting out the lines as Rody held the mic out, hands raised, reflecting the count of “Five soldiers forever sedated with the, ‘No one’s responsible’ psychological drama of our social justice.” The set closed climactically with “Bloodmeat”.
Rody’s stage banter with the crowd between songs included talk of the playoffs and how horrible Americans are at hockey, how fucking happy the band is to be back in Toronto and how ‘hip’ the church is straining to be with youth these days. Not far into the set during the briefest pause proceeding “Bone Marrow” (which Rody dedicated to Toronto) the crowd began singing, “Happy Birthday to you…” Rody, a little dumb struck and a little bashful stared down at the stage for most of the song, the rest of the band laughed and when the crowd finished, Rody heckled them, “That shit is copyright, you can’t sing that. Better be careful.” The night had an atmosphere of intimacy and old friends; the band was clearly happy to be back in their hometown, and catering to long-time fans, a lot of which had likely been around since their ACUoS days.