Protest the Hero, TesseracT, and Pathogenic @ Palladium
It was a night of enthusiasm for new and old on May 1st at Worcester’s Palladium as 400+ crammed like sardines (fish frenzy) into a venue that probably comfortably fits less than 400. An early Sunday evening show with a delayed start time seemed to creep into a more appropriate time slot; the benefactors of this being the shows local openers, Pathogenic. Although the delays were unintentional, they worked in the bands favor as the venue was full to the brim by the time the band metaphorically began shooting fish (frenzy) in a barrel with their churning groovy death metal assault. The fact that this was a special occasion for them became apparent sometime between the nearly-transparent, but unquestionably present jitters during their first song and the collective sigh of relief that occurred shortly after the meaty response this inspired in the crowd. From this point on the band played with a great deal of confidence to a crowd full of faces that they had probably never seen before. An interesting mix of quietude and violence broke out, leaving some intimidated, some exhausted, and some bloody as the mix of metal stylings in the band’s sound took a form of literal personification that it took me hours to even comprehend in a crowd that mixed the frailest of progressive metal fans with the beefiest of hellraisers, yet both parties seemed involved and enthusiastic.
At this point, TesseracT took the stage and the crammed masses stopped moving entirely, as the speakers pumped out their signature chrome-sounding clean and signature empty-sounding distorted tone. The latter half did sound at least a little bit heartier as it echoed through the venue than it does on record, but still seems to serve as somewhat of a smear on their otherwise astounding mix. At this point, the venue turned into a chess board, but at least all of the pieces were endowed with hearty smiles throughout the entire set. The band was tight and enjoyable and I was happier with the vocals live than on the EP. It sounded like they may have used some backing tracks, but these were used mostly for harmonies and were in a tasteful manner. Given the band’s relatively small catalogue, the set-list was obviously unsurprising, but their performance was still more evocative than their performance on record. Fans of this band will enjoy them in a live setting and they have established themselves as a band that is worth looking out for as they get deeper into their careers.
ZZ Top was good but I don’t know why he showed up to a metal show. Just cause he added breakdowns to his songs doesn’t mean that he fit this bill.
Last, but certainly not least, Protest the Hero got the Palladium jostling in a playful, yet aggressive nature in a way more reminiscent of a punk concert than a metal one. Vocals through the speakers often took a back seat to those sung by the masses as people bumped into eachother, bellowing, and overall seemed to enjoy themselves. They played a diverse setlist of new and old, and banter in between songs kept the atmosphere light and fun. Topics included some guy in the front wanting dick in his mouth, the Montreal Canadiens sucking, and Rody’s “fuck you face”. The band was tight, and the lightshow was elaborate, although the sound-leveling could have used a little bit of work. Regardless, Protest the Hero has shown that they are a competent headlining band. They played a strange mixture of metal-enthusiasts on Sunday and brought out the best attitude in nearly every one of them. Their new CD slays, and they’ve got Vinyl and Tab Books at their merch table for those of you who are inclined to see them. It’s worth bringing some extra cash, something I wish I had done.
Go see this tour.