Protomartyr at Bunk Bar in Portland, OR (May 19, 2014)
For a Monday night in Portland, music lovers had several palatable options, including Kishi Bashi, Death In June, and Matt Pond PA/ Jason Lytle. But as someone who favors the underdogs, I went to Bunk Bar to catch Protomartyr. The makeshift venue by night drew in a sizable crowd, considering the night's concert options.
Before the four men from Detroit stepped onto the wooden platform, singer Joe Casey came up to the bar and ordered five cans of Old German beer and a whiskey on the rocks. But at the time, not having done my visual research, I didn't realize the man in a blazer fronted the post-punk band. He looked more like an agent than a rocker. While his bandmates were dressed in the typical casual attire of tops and jeans.
On stage, the can of lager became part of the show or an instrumental supplement to Casey, rarely loosening the grip on his drink. His appearance and the crooning baritone recalled Matt Berninger of The National yet with the distant stare (or lack of) and ruffled vocals of Ian Curtis. Add the The Fall's abrasive guitar and a heaping spoonful of Mark E. Smith's inebriated belting, and you kind of get Protomartyr. But of course, this American band is not the souping or the stewing of these allusions.
The 14-song set consisted largely from their latest LP, Under Color of Official Right, released at the end of March 2014. The 2-3minute tracks also included new material. In the saturated hues of dimly -lit venue, the visuals did little to stimulate my ocular nerves. But the thundering drums, discordance of the strings, and Casey's whiskey & beer-soaked pipes delivered a sonic experience that's as raw and distressed as their home base.
|Swans Swans, Jenny Hval @ Music Hall Of Williamsburg, Brooklyn (Pics)|