WVAU 2017: BEST LIVE SHOW

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WVAU 2017: BEST LIVE SHOW

Tessa Dolt

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Detroit post-punk band Protomartyr played a killer set at Rock and Roll Hotel on October 26. It was so good that the WVAU community voted it ‰Best Live Show‰’ of 2017. If you missed out on this show, hopefully I can do it some justice. Protomartyr had just released Relatives in Descent a month before, which is their best album in my opinion. It was privilege to catch them on this tour and hear their new album live. Even better, I got to sit down with frontman Joe Casey and my good friend, Max Gowan and interview the guy. He was much more reserved and pointed than I expected him to be, which really carried into his set.

Protomartyr began their set with “My Children,‰” a song that starts off as many Protomartyr songs do–with a ringing guitar and a bassline that creeps up on you, eventually leading up to Casey‰’s burst of mutterings backed by faster, harsher guitar riffs. “To create, pass on, pass on. What‰’s mine, now yours, pass on…‰” Joe Casey mumbled, tallboy in hand. It pretty much set the tone for the rest of the show–slow-building songs that lead into heavy drum and bass lines, the kind that you can feel in your chest.

The energy of the crowd is what tied the whole show together for me. You could tell the crowd was mostly long-time Protomartyr fans; meaning, it was a room full of late 20s to early 30s bearded, straight white guys who smelled like IPA. Though the energy was high, with most people head banging, it never got out of hand. I expected some serious moshing, but there was enough space between people that you could do your own little dance without getting physical with the guy next to you trying to match Joe‰’s vocals.

As for the setlist, it comes at no surprise that they played a majority of songs off Relatives in Descent. They managed to get in a few from The Agent Intellect, like “The Devil in His Youth,‰” “Cowards Starve,‰” and “Dope Cloud,‰” of course. I thought that they would play “Maidenhead‰” off Under Color of Official Right, but I‰’m sure they get tired of playing it and honestly, I don‰’t think it would‰’ve fit into the tone of the set.

They closed out with two encores: “Why Does it Shake?‰” and “Scum, Rise!‰” which was everything I needed from that show wrapped up into two songs. That show left me feeling a lot of things. It was a rush of pure joy that left me thinking, why does it shake? And why does Ben‰’s Chili Bowl on H Street close at 10pm on weekdays? God I just wanted some cheese fries.