Coming off a wave of hype from last year’s highly impressive third effort, The Agent Intellect, Detroit 4-piece post punk band Protomatyr‘s first headlining European tour has been awaited with bated breath since being announced.
Indeed, tonight see’s a cramped and sweaty Broadcast taken over by a crowd hungry to see what this much talked about band can offer, and they surely do not disappoint.
The band, playing largely songs from their latest record, rip through their set with a hypnotic, pulsating assurance, transfixing the crowd throughout.
Every instrument is locked in: the melodic, off-kilter, Joy Division-esque rhythm section keep things driving along constantly, overlayed by a gorgeous, singular guitar sound which is equal parts jaggy and awkward, as it is luscious and moving, especially in tracks such as ‘Clandestine Time’.
But while the band is a tight-ship unit, singer Joe Casey is the complete opposite.
Singing in a slacker baritone, wearing a scruffy formal jacket and trousers, Casey looks as though he happened upon the stage after being an executive at a car dealership before losing his job from the market crash and turned to booze.
He keeps a lid on the performance in general, giving controlled performances in the early going, on tracks such as ‘I Forgive You’, only rising his voice passionately on hair-raising, transcendal moments such as ‘Pontiac ’87’ and ‘Ellen’.
This is a classy performance from a still relatively new band.
One has a feeling this must have been what it was like to see post-punk bands such as Joy Division as their peak, and the crowd really respond to it, especially during singles ‘The Devil in His Youth’, ‘Dope Cloud’ and ‘Why Does it Shake?’; it will be exciting to see what Protomatyr do next.
Words: Adam Turner-Heffer
Photos: Ann-Christin Heinrich