Protest The Hero

Gig Review: Protest The Hero featuring Ally McCoist, Neil Lennon and Rowan Atkinson, O2 ABC2, Glasgow, 8th March 2012

With Chimaira performing down the road at the King Tuts and the Destroyers of the Faith tour featuring Cannibal Corpse, Triptykon, Enslaved and Job For A Cowboy performing upstairs, Glasgow was a little spoilt for choice on the 8th March.

With the doors opening for both ABC gigs at 6pm and a queue dominated by Destroyers of the Faith goers, it was looking likely that Uneven Structure [8] would suffer because of this as they performed early on, and they did. Coming on stage to an almost empty hall, you would have forgiven the French sextet for performing a lacklustre set but they didn’t. It doesn’t take long before you are immersed in the ambient soundscapes before being brought back to earth with heavy chugging guitars and roaring vocals. Matthieu Romarin’s vocal ability soars throughout their set. Being able to scream when the band takes it up a notch is one thing but his exceptional clean vocals are what make him stand out. Uneven Structure’s soundscapes would be completely lost with the wrong vocalist but Romarin is perfect. Accompanied by a group of musicians who have the technical prowess to pull off such a complex and dynamic sound live, Uneven Structure are a band that everyone should be making a note of as they have a great future ahead.

Next up were the first of two new bands for myself. Blood Command [7] took to the stage to a much larger audience but it was frontwoman Silje Tombre who made the instant impact with a vocal style that is likely to be hit or miss with a lot of people. While she can scream with the best of them and her punk rock attitude commands the stage, the pitch of her vocals, which is almost childlike, may be off putting for some. I was slightly bemused to begin with but as soon as I got used to their style I enjoyed their set. Flowing from easy going pop-punk style songs to true punk anthems with touches of hardcore, Blood Command have an arsenal of catchy diverse songs just waiting to be unleashed. With a great response from the ever growing crowd, I would expect them back over in the UK on their own tour shortly.

German instrumentalists Long Distance Calling [8] followed with a compelling set. While the faces of certain Glaswegians couldn’t understand music without a vocalist, the bands melodic riffs and downright dirty grooves had the rest of the crowd moving. Their ambient rock sound would attract fans of Mogwai but they don’t shy away from heavy metal style riffs and soundscapes to keep everyone entertained. Like Blood Command, they write very catchy songs and they have a lot of fun performing it on stage. I wasn’t sure what to expect from them, especially as the main support, but they exceeded my expectations and set the perfect tone leading into the headline set.

As the lights dimmed and The Lion King theme tune ‘Circle Of Life’ was blasted out of the speakers, roaring laughter soon turned into mayhem as Protest The Hero [9] made their way on stage and wasted no time by kicking into ‘Sex Tapes.’ With their set cut into four three-song sections, the band kept the energy going with ‘Bloodmeat’ and ‘Termites’ before taking the first break of the night.

Rody Walker used the first break to “annoy” the crowd as he went shopping earlier in the day and purchased three masks. First out was a mask of Ally McCoist, the Glasgow Rangers manager, which was met with a mixture of applause and boos. Commenting that all he knew about Ally was that Rangers were in financial trouble (currently in administration), he rubbed some salt in Rangers fans wounds by presenting a Neil Lennon mask, the manager of Glasgow Celtic. To unite the crowd Rody then presented a Rowan Atkinson mask which began a Mr Bean chant. Reminding everyone that Rowan Atkinson wasn’t just Mr Bean and that he also performed the voice of Zazu in The Lion King, he used this opportunity to note that while we were learning down in the ABC2, people upstairs in the main ABC hall for the Destroyers of the Faith tour wouldn’t be gaining anything from the hand holding music.

Thrusting back into action with ‘Goddess Bound,’ ‘Goddess Gagged’ and ‘Tongue-Splitter,’ the band showcase their technical ability as they flick between different speeds and tones while keeping everything as tight as it could be. Making fun of a terrible Scottish comedian who is based in Canada and giving Scotch the nod ahead of Jameson Irish whiskey broke up the last two segments, each featuring one song from their three album catalogue. Old fans would be treated to ‘Turn Soonest To The Sea’ and ‘Blindfolds Aside’ from ‘Kezia’ which allowed Walker to showcase more of his vocal range and the band to perform more complex rhythmic sections. The frantic pace continued with ‘Limb From Limb’ and ‘Sequoia Throne’ from ‘Fortress’ and ‘Hair-Trigger’ from ‘Scurrilous’ before wrapping up the night on fan favourite ‘C’est La Vie.’

A successful return for the Canadians on a busy gig night in Glasgow and with their set touring and writing structure, it is likely we will see them back again this year or next before they start work on a new album. Be sure not to miss them if they do come round again.


About ??

Michael is the owner and creator of EspyRock. He is your general all round geek; sports fan; TV show fanatic. You can find him sharing his thoughts on his personal Twitter account. Contact Michael on Twitter or via Email.

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