No protesting this heroic performance

Protest the Hero
January 14 at Lille Vega

Tuesday evening saw one of the best metal concerts within the halls of Vega for quite some time. Protest The Hero are a merry bunch of Canadian pranksters who, despite their ‘prog metal’ label, play a vicious blend of metalcore, punk, and classic heavy metal with a technical prowess that knows no boundaries. 

After a decent performance from fellow Canadians The Safety Fire, it was on to British metal quintet Tesseract. It is clear upon their arrival that they were a man short, and it was explained that their second guitarist had to stay home because of personal reasons. The band was forced to rely on a backing track and sessions musicians in the back. Despite this, Tesseract put on a mind-numbing performance, with vocalist Ashe O’Hara completely mesmerising the crowd with killer vocals as witnessed in ‘Off Matter – Proxy’ and ‘Part One: Acceptance’. Despite being handicapped for this tour, Tesseract still showed why they are one of the most exciting acts on the market today.

Properly warmed up, the audience was ready to receive headliners Protest The Hero, who entered the stage all sporting caps to compliment their rather ‘hipsterish’ image. From the first second, Protest The Fire pummeled ahead in a full-throttle assault. Starting with the ironic ‘Underbite’, a social critique on the mundane and choreographed performances of rock bands today, to the face-melting ‘Clarity’ from their newest record Volition. Rody Walker is one of the most versatile vocalists of today’s rock world, and he makes it look so damn easy. Plenty of humorous perks complimented a very professional performance that reached its apex at the set-closing ‘Blindfolds Aside’. A well-chosen 13-song setlist from the headliners ended the festivities on a high note, leaving the audience satisfied. 

To the conservative-minded metalhead, good and innovative metal died in the late 1980s, but its an absolute pleasure for me to disagree with the sometimes shortsighted opinions of my fellow metal aficionados. I firmly believe that I am living through an age that is producing some of the most experimental and boundary-crossing metal music. The three bands that performed this evening are distinct proof that the genre is still very much alive and evolving.