Show Review: Protomartyr @ Holy Mountain (5.30)
While tons of shows went on Saturday night, those in the know made their way over to Holy Mountain to catch Protomartyr. The evening started out slow, attendance-wise, but filled up by the time middle act, Xetas, took to the stage. I can’t say a bad thing about any of the acts on the night, but read on for some brief thoughts, and photos by B. Gray.
Simple Circuit, the local Austin four-piece opened our night up. They fulfilled the promise that was set forth by their self-titled album from 2013, giving us good solid pop-punk jams for a good thirty minutes. They were short on banter, getting straight to the point by just playing great songs. Probably my favorite aspect of the group, aside from the music, was the simple fact that they all seemed to be enjoying themselves; it’s always refreshing to see a band just having fun playing their songs. I wish there were more people filling the space, but the 1975 has a good draw I hear.
Next came Xetas. The teacher across the hall from me, Mark Reed, has been telling me I have to catch this band for months. Somehow I wasn’t able to fit them into my schedule, but I can now say I’m a complete convert. They had this energetic ferocity that was immediately captivating, spurred on by the furious drumming. The vocals have a hardcore tendency, but there’s still an underlying pop aspect (like really early Against Me); they also combine the vocals of D (guitar) and K (bass) to impressive effect. Every song they played was a hit, and it’s been quite some time since I’ve been so thoroughly taken aback by my first impression. Definitely keep an eye on this band, as they have a 7 inch coming soon via 12XU.
And what’s left to be said about Protomartyr? The band’s latest release, Under Color of Official Right, remains one of the most stellar releases in 2014, and they continued their barrage on Austin with yet another spectacular show. Joe Casey is a bit of a disconcerting character. He stands, somewhat disinterested, with a drink in hand, and just belts out great lyrics. His persona is juxtaposed to that of his bandmates, which encompasses the band’s sound, as he’s the calming force to their brand of proto-noise rock. Personally, I could hear the band play “Scum,Rise” and “Maidenhead” a dozen more times and never grow weary of those tunes. Despite some issues with the guitar amp after the first few songs, the band just played a ridiculously solid set. Their consistency and songwriting make them one of those acts that begs, if not deserves, larger following. I’m sure everyone that left Holy Mountain that night feels the same.