Protest The Hero U.S. Headline Tour – REVIEW Protest The Hero U.S. Headline Tour – REVIEW
Protest The Hero’s U.S. headline tour came through Chicago at The Bottom Lounge with supporting acts: Periphery, Jeff Loomis, The Safety... Protest The Hero U.S. Headline Tour – REVIEW

Protest The Hero’s U.S. headline tour came through Chicago at The Bottom Lounge with supporting acts: Periphery, Jeff Loomis, The Safety Fire and Today I Caught The Plague. You can check out our review after the break.

The future of the heavy metal genre is in such debate these days. Part of the music world thinks that the future looks very bleak, with music turning into nothing but a series of rhythmic “chugs” on down-tuned or extended low-range guitars. The other part sees a bright and open future, taking everything that has been learned, taught, and invented from the past thirty-five years and build on it to reach heights (and lows) in the genre never imagined before. On this particular Sunday evening at the Bottom Lounge in Chicago I believe these two groups were able to agree that the bands performing were a shining example of what metal should be: powerful, aggressive, intricate, and awe-inspiring!

Opening up the show were a wonderfully technical (and independent) group from Ottawa, Canada, Today I Caught the Plague. Commanding the stage, they used every inch as they headbanged in unison while playing progressive music, even sometimes linear. Although their extreme, heavy sound at times, Dave Journeaux’s vocals soared over it with beauty and ease. Following them were the British progressive group The Safety Fire. With equal amounts of technical breakdowns and atmosphere, they filled the sonic space and left the crowd to either bang their head or stand and stare at the raw talent on the stage.

To break up the evening a bit, Jeff Loomis (former Nevermore) took to the stage, but this time with a full band instead of just backing tracks. Following up his debut solo record “Zero Order Phase” (Century Media Records) with “Plains of Oblivion” (also Century Media), his set began with what I believe is the opening track of the latter. Following it was one of his most famous songs “Miles of Machines,” in which the band somewhat got off track. They did have to stop, in which Jeff said into the mic, “hey, first night, right? Fuck it!” The crowd laughed with him as the intro replayed, to which they performed the song (and the rest of the evening) with beautiful precision and impressive accuracy to the album cuts.

Next to last, from Maryland/DC area, was djent heavy hitters Periphery. This is a group that I have recently been getting more and more into as I come to love the new wave of heavy metal music. To see them perform live, I can only say, was nothing short of impressive. They had every bit of intensity and musical accuracy as on the album, and still put forth mass amounts of energy that drove the crowd absolutely wild as they played the most popular tracks from their catalog including “Letter Experiment,” “Frak the Gods,” “Buttersnips,” and “Icarus Lives!” From even before they went on stage until the very last song, the crowd did not stop cheering and screaming, but I have never seen such fan dedication to a band as with the next to hit the stage.

From Whitby, Canada came Protest the Hero with their progressive math-core riffing and singable choruses. I am not even exaggerating, the entire crowd would be moshing and headbanging for thirty seconds of a breakdown, then go calm to stare in awe at a guitar solo, and THEN sing all in unison with vocalist Rody Walker, only to go back to headbanging and moshing. This wasn’t a one-time thing, as it continued throughout their entire set! It was pretty hilarious to be wandering through the crowd with my companion for the night who was taking photos, only to see a mosh pit erupt out of nowhere, then to see everyone stop instantaneously to observe the show on stage.

In the end, I would have to say that Protest the Hero had the best fans, although every single group that performed did so with such precision and showmanship that it’s no wonder why the new wave of technical heavy metal is spreading so quickly around the globe. It honestly seems like it is bringing out the very best in the aspiring musicians of today and inspiring the musical youth to set the bar as high as possible, never to limit themselves by what has been done or what the status quo is.

Information about the review…
Tour: Protest The Hero US Headline Tour
Bands: Protest The Hero, Periphery, Jeff Loomis, The Safety Fire, and Today I Caught The Plague
Reviewer: Vincent Ippolito
Date: March 25, 2012
Venue: The Bottom Lounge in Chicago, IL

Joshua Weidling Owner/Founder

I'm the owner & founder of Digital Tour Bus. I started the company in my dorm room during my freshman year of college. I have a degree in Marketing from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Outside of music and going to concerts, I'm a big fan of stand-up comedy, playing board games, trying the most amazing unhealthy food, and watching really mediocre comedy tv shows.