What’s your dream bill? Given the opportunity, which two bands would make up your perfect evening concert? In terms of modern prog titans, it doesn’t get much more perfect than Protest the Hero and Coheed and Cambria. Of course, not a lot of modern people actually listen to prog, so that’s probably why the turnout at Montreal’s Olympia was so thin when this particular tour stopped by.
Crown Lands started things off with some gnarly rock and roll the likes of which made Wolfmother so popular when they first came out. This promising young duo comprised of Cody Bowles on drums and impossibly high vocals (both singing and speaking) and Kevin Comeau on the coolest double-neck guitar/bass you’ve ever seen made the tiny crowd scream like a stadium full of people. Though they didn’t have much of the Olympia’s large stage to play around with (most of the other two bands’ equipment was already set up behind them) they made the most of the space they were allotted and Comeau in particular was mesmerizing to watch in action.
Up next was Protest the Hero, whose frontman Rody Walker doubles as probably the best standup comedian the metal world has ever seen. In front of a backdrop that featured album art from their second full-length effort Fortress and in between some of their meatier compositions like “Bloodmeat,” “Clarity,” and “Skies,” Walker touched upon some of his favourite adlib topics which, of course, included hockey. He didn’t go as hard on hating the Canadians as he has done in the past, and he concluded this particular portion of his speech by calling attention to the fact that though the Habs and the Leafs will forever remain enemies, we can always come together to hate Boston. They also hit us with a brand new song which, in typical Protest the Hero fashion, was full of blistering guitar lines, frenetic drums, leather lunged vocal melodies and was absolutely impossible to follow on a first listen. Walker reminded us that the great thing about playing a new song is that nobody knows when you’ve made a mistake. He also reminded us that professionalism isn’t about being perfect, it’s about making money.
Coheed and Cambria hit the stage running with the track “The Dark Sentencer” from their yet to be released new album. What followed was more or less a greatest hit set that touched on just about all of their releases, including their first full length with a lively rendition of “Devil in Jersey City.” Frontman and band mastermind Claudio Sanchez’s famously wild mane of curly hair flew loose during the first few tracks before he tamed it into an impossibly small man-bun. (It was way cooler than Machine Gun Kelly’s.) The set was almost entirely comprised of music and audio samples from the band’s various releases, though Sanchez did tell us that he has now settled into his small apartment in New York with his wife and where once he was reluctant to stay their and write new music, he ended up writing the entirety of their new album within those walls. Obviously, they finished the evening off with their mega smash hit “Welcome Home,” and while the crowd was still thin even at this point, everyone there was evidently a huge fan of the band and the final singalong of “oh oh ohs” in the song’s outro shook the Olympia to its very foundation.
Written by Syd Ghan
Photography by Michael Kovacs
*edited by Danielle Kenedy