Traveling to the Williamsburg Music Hall on a night when being outside physically hurt was quite a task. At a balmy 1 degree (not including wind chill), the show certainly had to be stunning enough to make things worthwhile. Protomartyr, the headlining band at this event, did not disappoint. The band is a Detroit based, and originated in 2008. Their sound is distinctly fresh, while also conjuring up vintage-esque visages of music from the past. From the moment the members stepped onstage, they commanded the crowd’s attention and a vibrancy filled the room immediately.
Dressed in a casual suit while sipping on a beer, lead singer Joe Casey exuded a quietly cool persona and let his talent speak for itself. Protomartyr on a whole is highly reminiscent of other punk rock bands; one band that came to mind after hearing a sampling of songs was The Pixies. While some songs gently swayed the crowd into submission through their gentle percussion and crooning vocals, others were more conducive to moshing and riling the crowd up. The mix of songs was carefully crafted and perfectly suited to be an appropriate sampling of their portfolio as a band. It is clear they have grown heavily since their inception, and their mature sound and lyrics appear to have allowed the band to settle into their niche in the music industry.
The show itself was an amazing spectacle complete with the atmosphere that turned the venue into a mystical getaway on a cold Saturday night. The songs themselves told beautiful stories and meshed with each other to create a complex mix of feelings and thoughts about topics that are both heavy and songs where the sound itself takes precedence. Protomartyr is for anyone who likes stylistically challenging, yet beautifully simple American punk music. There are no gimmicks about this band, no image to portray, just raw talent.