The Protomen Take Toronto
This week fans of nerd rock in the great white north were in for a treat as robot rockers The Protomen made a stop in Toronto, Ontario during their current tour.
A rock opera band from Nashville, the band’s albums tell the story of Mega Man with a dystopian twist. Capcom’s classic game meets Freddie Mercury meets Mad Max for an evening of earth-shattering rock n roll.
Although the band has been treating Canadian fans to performances about once a year since their first show north of the border in 2010, no concerts are ever alike. “We have gotten louder since then”, boasted frontman Raul Panther to enraptured fans after the show. During strike after their set he and fellow band members had an informal meet and greet, making time to show love to fans in spite of the tight travel schedule demanded by their tour.
Including Acts I and II, concept albums which follow the narrative of Mega Man as an Orwellian resistance fighter, the group also has 2 cover albums, The Cover Up and A Night of Queen. They have also recently joined the ranks of rock stars whom have crossed over into doing scoring with their soundtrack for Terminator the Second. Their concert for Torontonians on April 20th included a high-octane mix of both Acts, selected covers, notably including a rocking version of In the Air Tonight. The audience was also treated to new songs from the upcoming Act III, which the band is working hard on between shows. Although the finale of their story is on the horizon the band shows no signs of holding back or stopping.
Although the music industry is currently enjoying a Renaissance of pop and hip-hop with a healthy side of EDM, The Protomen prove that there is still room for rock. With the Velvet Underground filled wall to wall with fans (usually referred to as Brotomen or Protofans), the showmanship, fighting spirit and massive music talent of every band member makes it completely impossible to stand still or keep quiet at one of their concerts. The adage about people in the 60s screaming so loudly at Beatles concerts that they couldn’t hear the band comes to mind: even The Protomen’s colossal sound and skilled techies have to compete with the crowd once classics like Light Up The Night start up.
From the hype-up introduction by the enigmatic KILROY to The Gambler’s angelic vocals, the band and it’s fans create a 2-hour chain reaction of awesomeness at every live show. Along with guitar and synthesizer being manned by band staples Robert Bakker and Murphy Weller, with drums by the energetic Reanimator and Panther’s unbelievable leading vocals, the group is a finely-tuned and stellar machine. To quote their own lyrics, a beacon of light from a burning screen.
With big sound and creative innovation, The Protomen is a rare group due to music that is not just fun, but life-affirming. Princes of the Universe, indeed.
The remainder of their current tour takes them back to the United States including a visit at PAX in Boston, followed by stops in cities such as Philly and Chicago. ‘Til next time, fellas, your fans in the North will be lining up their quarters for you.
Putting aside professional writing tone for a moment, seeing these guys live is a straight-up religious experience. No lie.