I went to go see fantastic Canadain Prog/Punk/Metal/Whatever band Protest The Hero last night in Manchester Academy. My ticket said Academy 2, but the bouncers herded us into the basement for the Club Academy.
I was a bit skeptical that maybe they’d mistakenly sent me to the wrong gig, and asked some guy in a Protest The Hero shirt if he though he was in the right place, which he did… I asked that two seconds before noticing the rather large Protest The Hero backdrop (with the same image as the t-shirt I was wearing on it).
The support band seemed to be a local band of Manchester students, but in fact turned out to be Palm Reader – who you might’ve heard mentioned dozens of times on the Metal Hammer Podcast. They were good.. a very pissed off mixture of Parkway Drive and Gallows. Definitely more in the British Hardcore mode than Metalcore in the Shadows Fall sense. Interesting. I wasn’t bowled over but I could respect it.
Then came The Contortionist who played Djent, so I should’ve liked them, but they just lacked a special something. Maybe they were deflated that the gig had been downsized? I don’t know. The singer was super, super calm, almost like he was in a coffee shop. Didn’t really create an atmosphere. Also, it didn’t help that their guitarist had such a young face that it reminded me of the gigs I’d played as a teenager when no-one showed up. The whole thing could only be described as ‘drab’ which I’m aware is unfair and makes me sound judgemental, but its honestly how I felt. Clapping out of politeness but not in any way shape or form “blown away.”
The Safety Fire followed that. I’m not being rude but it wasn’t very good. Technical problems, missed notes, lack of energy until the famous songs. They’re a good band, I’ve seen them before and they were really storming, I think this was just an off-night. Don’t let me put you off them, but just being honest, 26/11/2014 wasn’t a good gig of theirs, for me.
Then came the band I’ve been banging on about for the last two years. The band I paid to see. The band who’ve fastest shot up my scroble-count of anyone ever with the same amount of material (in English that means I’ve listened to them proportionately higher than anyone else recently). The band who I saw in February who played one of the hands down best and most fun gigs I’ve ever seen, ever.
It was good. I had earplugs in the rest of the night due to the really bad ear injury I got on Monday at Mastodon, but I took the plug out’ve the non-injured ear for PTH. They were fantastic. Roddy’s humorous banter didn’t fall flat. New bassist was great. New(ish) drummer still completely awesome. Core band absolutely flawless.
The setlist was a good too – bit different from last time I saw them… no ‘Mist’ but there was ‘Termites.’ No ‘The Dissentience,’ ‘Bury The Hatchet’ or ‘Tilting Against Windmills’ but there was ‘Drumhead Trial’ and ‘ Bone Marrow’ and ‘Plato’s Tripartite.’ Still a good balance of all four albums, still hits, still surprises. Good job.
I really enjoyed the band. I wasn’t in the best spot for “getting into it” and jumping up and down and the earplug thing made me self-conscious of my voice and so singing along wasn’t as energetic as it was last time, and I can’t honestly claim a “best gig ever” thing about this one the way I could last time I saw them (it was amazing!), but I’m still glad to have went. And I was in the best spot for seeing music without yobs impinging upon my person or ear canals. So… I’d chalk that one up to a win, given a) my personality anyway and b) the circumstances.
Anyway; Man, I’m buzzed. Speed walking home to avoid muggers has really woken me up.
Good thing I don’t have to get up at 5am this morning. Oh wait…