Thursday, November 10, 2011

The Protomen at Santos Party House 11/09/20XX (Show Review)

Being a huge fan of music, as well as being a huge fan of video games, it wasn’t going to be very long before I discovered bands in the world that would build on such a concept. Some bands go the cover route, finding different video game tunes and making rock/rap/metal pieces with the material given, and others will take it a step further. Cue the Protomen. This crazy theatrical Mega-Man-induced indie rock ensemble comes from Nashville, Tennessee. I don’t know what they’re on over there in Tennessee, but I want a piece of whatever it is.

First off, before even getting in to Santos Party House in New York, NY, and while waiting in line, the band member known as ‘Turbo Lover’ came out with a digital camera and shouted “If you don’t want to be in the documentary, get the hell out of the way!” Naturally my friends and I all screamed like idiots and waved and clapped for the camera as he walked by. A great way to start what was going to already be an awesome night.

My friends, my girlfriend, and I all seemed to have great timing, as we got to the show just as the line was starting to form to get in. While waiting for them to come on, we were treated to Big Trouble in Little China on two screens around the back of the stage. I never did get to see that movie previously, so that was one hell of a trip. For those who don’t know, Santos Party House is not exactly a big place. We got near the front and we stayed there, because about 20 minutes in, the room was all but filled. While waiting, I got to talk with other fans about their experiences. Ironically, they all went to NY Comic Con as well, so it was fun to compare our thoughts on the Zelda: Skyward Sword demo (no seriously, I loved it).

When things finally began, K.I.L.R.O.Y. stepped up to the stage. He is basically the person/robot that gets the show started and the crowd moving. He immediately begins by saying that we’re not here for music or fun, but for war! He also went on a rant, describing all the horrors of the dystopian world they’ve crafted in their music, when he suddenly points to my girlfriend and goes “And YOU! ... Don’t even get me started on YOU!” She was so shocked and I just couldn’t stop laughing.

Once the band started, it was nonstop mayhem from there. The musical diversity of this group is remarkable. Standing beside where I was in front of the stage was their violinist and lead guitar player, Bakker. I felt fortunate to be put right in front of him, because he was a beast through and through. Just about all members of the band have the ability to play at least two instruments, and do it very well. The lead singer, Raul Panther, for example, played keyboard in one song, and switched to an acoustic guitar in the next. The storylines crafted in both Acts I and II (their two current albums) were also displayed brilliantly on the stage. We were treated to awesome still images and animations coming from the stage TVs to set the mood, as well as awesome stage performances with K.I.L.R.O.Y. giving Panther a Mega Man helmet, and later on, a Protoman helmet and arm cannon. Seriously, if you see them live, you will never forget it.

Each song had the crowd moving in different ways. Many of the songs from Act I, like ‘Vengeance’ and ‘The Will of One,’ started all kinds of crazy mosh pits and shouting. Their softer, more melodic tunes from Act II instigated a lot of foot stomping and fists in the air. I felt like we could have very well started a revolution ourselves with all of the momentum going on there. One more thing to note was the bands ability to produce great cover songs. I saw a video of them doing ‘Ballroom Blitz’ once, and was even more thrilled to see them do a cover of Queen’s ‘Princes of the Universe.’ When a band I really like covers my favorite band of all time, and does it well, I tend to take notice.

To go with all of the moshing and stomping, we also had some crowd surfing, mainly from members of the band themselves. At one moment when Ringo Segundo (the second guitarist) put his guitar in front of us to finger tap and mess around with, K.I.L.R.O.Y., who had already been part of a crowd surf behind me, came back near the front of the stage and almost crushed me and everyone else who was bending forward. Luckily once he got back up, Ringo was awesome enough to put it back in front of us and let us mess around again.

After the performance had finally finished, I actually got a big hug from K.I.L.R.O.Y. and had a few laughs with Ringo and Turbo Lover while my girlfriend and I headed to the merch booth. I was surprised to see they still had a couple of the Act I vinyl records left, but I already had a copy, so I was already covered there. I got both of the CDs (which I had never actually owned before, despite hearing the albums countless times) and contemplated on one of the shirts, but figured there’d be plenty of chances for that in the future. The only person missing from all of this was The Nightwalker, who’s trumpet playing I did miss hearing after the awesome use of it both of the albums. Hopefully we can see her in action sometime in the future as well.

All in all, that was one of the most fun shows I’ve been too in a long time. My friends, my girlfriend and I all had a mega-blast (had to say it!), made a few new friends (including members of the band), and all made it back home safely without dying somehow. That’s what I call a perfect night. Stay nerdy my friends!

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