An Epic Night of Music
May 9, 2011 by Sean Gonzalez
Protest The Hero, along with guests Tesseract and Maylene, explode through Denver’s Marquis Theatre.
As soon as I read on the Internet that Protest the Hero would be in town on April 16th, 2011 in the Marquis theatre, I immediately bought the tickets for $13 because I wanted to see if Protest could play live, the crazy music they create on their albums.
I park downtown and wonder how my night will be. There are three bands playing: Tesseract, Maylene & The Sons of Disaster, and Protest The Hero. I have never heard of Tesseract, a British Progressive Metal band, and I wonder how they are going to sound. I know previous Underoath singer Dallas Taylor created Maylene & The Sons of Disaster, and read before the show that he loves to interact with crowds. Protest The Hero is my favorite band, and I know they will provide a wondrous live performance; I am desperate to find out what songs they will be playing.
I walk into the Marquis Theatre and choose a spot behind a couple of people and stand. The people in front of me are on stools behind railings, and are friendly. I ask who is performing next , and they tell me it is Tesseract, an underground British Progressive Metal band that has a different sound that takes time getting used to. They start playing and I hear the vocalist singing in this beautiful falsetto while some deep heavy guitars are laying out chords behind him. This is seriously heavy. The guitars are seven strings (a normal guitar is six strings, and a seventh string adds a low B string), which allow for dark and gloomy riffs to be played, adding a new depth to metal. Their music includes epic breakdowns, to which I find myself head banging and rocking out. Their solos are slow, adding more feeling and bends into every note. They all look like traditional metalheads with long hair, except the lead singer, who has short hair and looks more like a guy from a pop-punk band. Looks are deceiving, as they rock the small crowd out of their socks.
I talk with the guys in front of me and ask who is next. They tell me Maylene and the Sons of Disaster, which is a dirty sounding southern metal band. When the band comes on, I understand what he meant. Their riffs are slower, and very gritty. It sounds like Lynyrd Skynyrd meets Kurt Cobain with kerosene poured into their guts. A guy next to me says, “I feel as if I should be wearing a confederate flag, these guys are dirty.” Slide guitar – a typically country driven style – is being used in conjunction with heavy distortion, which just makes it sound even grimier. They look southern as well, with one of their guitarists having long curly-blonde hair with gold framed and lensed aviators, looking like he just came out of the swamp.
I am in awe of the band at once, especially front man Dallas Taylor, who immediately takes control of the stage. He makes the entire theatre his own, jumping from drum set to speaker while biting the microphone cord and screaming his lungs out. He interacts with the crowd the entire time, whether giving the microphone to a fan to sing so he can take a break, or a specific crowd-pleasing act that includes expectoration. The amount of energy this guy exudes on stage adds to the experience of watching them live. If it weren’t Protest The Hero next, I would say they should have been the headliner for the performance.
The band I have been waiting for finally comes on, playing C’est La Vie, from their newest album, Scurrilous. From here on, I feel such an emotional joy from seeing them play some of my favorite songs. Every note is hit perfectly, with explosive speeds and heaviness that sends people into major head banging. It is amazing to see the intricate music they play live, right in front of me. Every aspect of their time signatures is played to perfection, and they never hiccup or make a mistake. They enjoy themselves as well, making faces at the crowd or doing what guitarist Luke Hoskin loves to do, checking the time on his fake watch in between a quick no-instrument section in Limb From Limb.
The set list is perfect, with only one disappointing factor in it: they don’t play Hair-Trigger, a song I have come to love from their newest album. That is a song I would like to see. They play classic songs that put them on the mainstream side of music, as well as old songs that many fans have grown to love. Four songs are from their new album, Scurrilous, five from their second album, Fortress, and three from their first album, Kezia. All together I get an amazing set list that has the crowd jumping and singing with excitement.
The real reason I came to see Protest The Hero is to see Rody Walker and his amazing operatic voice, which he shows off with such ease during the concert. He hits every high and low note, and absolutely demolishes the screams by making them even more grittier and harsher. Many times he lets the crowd sing the songs, and then would provide comments on how well we sing. If he ever wants to find a new job, he could find one as a comedian. He cracks jokes that sound very professional and well-rehearsed, as if he actually was a comedian. This addition to their set list is perfect for those awkward moments in between songs.
Overall, this concert is a blast. Never before have I gone to a show that has three amazing bands, each sounding better live than they do on their albums, even though they are of different genres. All of their sounds and music mixes perfectly, adding energy, heaviness, and harmonious melodies to this wonderful experience.