:: Protest the Hero ::
:: Marquis Theater ::
Photo by STEVE HAINING By Joe Kovack
Packed wall to wall, the Marquis Theater in downtown Denver was a loud, hot, sweaty house of rock this past Saturday. Bringing its signature fast-paced, catchy licks and all around high energy, Canada’s premiere progressive metal band Protest the Hero pulled out all the stops and gave the crowd a generous portion of its growing repertoire.
As the venue blackened for the bands entry, the all-ages crowd expressed their anticipation with a synchronous chant of the band’s name, followed by a deafening surge of lungs as the band emerged from the curtain behind the small stage. Lead singer Rody Walker, modestly clad in a trucker hat and a newly grown rugged beard, assuaged the throngs of fans by foreshadowing the events to come; an intricate balance of songs from their newest release Scurrilous alongside oldies but goodies.
Starting the torrent of emotional frenzy was “C’est La Vie” the first song off Scurrilous; a song wasting no time in establishing control over the crowd with its signature sound of melodic riffs and punch-your-face-in progressions. Working between new songs and anthem-like favorites “Bone Marrow” and “Wretch” from the album Fortress; the band elevated the energy of the crowd and refused to let it fall.
Protest the Hero’s defining quality is the intermingling of progressive-driven, off-tempo riffs with the crescendo reaching heights of a chorus that begs the audience to join in on the singing. When the mob of fans didn’t join in song with Walker, they were crowd-surfing and moshing as only you can in a small venue.
Acknowledging not everyone enjoys his singing, Walker joked with the crowd between songs about his high pitched tenor style, to the laughs and applause of the crowd. But whether you like his timbre or not, there’s no denying the melodies he produces compliments the music well and begs for audience participation.
There’s almost no better place in Denver to see a show like this. True, they could easily play the Bluebird or Ogden Theater, but there’s something to the Marquis that begets hard-rocking indie and alternative music. Its small but intimate setting invites the days of watching punk rock in a cramped club with everyone thrashing and rocking as one. It’s a place that takes veteran rockers back to their early days of seeing shows and one where new fans will create those future memories. And on Saturday night, this sold out crowd did just that.