Seeing Protomartyr on tour behind The Agent Intellect, their latest on Hardly Art Records, at Bloomington, IN’s Blockhouse seemed fitting. The packed space was dimly lit and sparsely outfitted except for a few thrift-store couches, a minimalist canvas for the humble Detroit four-piece to craft with their sound in lieu of elaborate decorations and light shows. The mortal weight of Joe Casey’s lyrics bleeding through the PA over the thundering, churning music of his bandmates gave shape to the brutality of existence. All the while, nothing in the venue changed outside of the number of empty beer cans on the floor: the lights remained dim, the music stayed loud, and the crowd screamed until their voices cracked. The screams, though, were practically brimming with joy, the byproduct of an audience in complete awe of the artists before them, in shock of their proximity to their post-punk heroes. “I can’t believe they’re here!” one member kept screaming, all the while putting his hands on his head in disbelief of the setlist unfolding before him. With an album as solid as Intellect, hopefully Protomartyr will be back through again soon.
Words and photos by Doug Fellegy (via Flickr)