Protest the Hero made their triumphant return to Ottawa Friday night during the 10-year anniversary of their 2nd studio album Fortress.
Some bands have been accused of dialing it in on these types of anniversary tours, but that certainly wasn’t the case for Protest the Hero. They looked to be having a lot of fun on stage, especially lead singer Rody Walker. The crowd was channeling that energy singing along at the top of their lungs, sometimes louder than Rody himself, and moshing up a storm.
Rody’s vocals have truly improved since I last saw them and the instrumentation—always the band’s strength—was as tight as ever. While the band did play the album from start to finish, as one does on the anniversary tour, they still worked in some variances most notably the awesome bass solo they worked into “Palm Read.” It was also great to see the band adorn hats—captain, first mate, cowboy,police and construction—just as they did in the video for “Limb from Limb.”
The night wasn’t just about the music though. Rody stopped the show for a word from their sponsor Machete Premium Cuts a long-standing local clothing line. However it was actually a clever ruse for the owner to proposes to girlfriend on stage. Who happened to have gone to a Protest the Hero show for their first show together. She said yes, and there was much rejoicing.
It also can’t be a Protest the Hero show without some fun banter from Rody.
“Whats the deal with venues in Ottawa always being so hot?” he mused. “Its always so hot here except when you go outside… Ottawa must be the capital of pneumonia.”
He also later went on a hockey tangent about how the Vegas Golden Knights are going to win the cup and complete the Cinderella story and “Marc-Andre Fleury will be shaking Crosby’s hand and saying ‘Nice try, Sid.'”
As they prepared the play the last two songs on the album, Rody let the crowd know that they would play the songs, take a break for a few minutes, and then be back so the crowd didn’t have to call for an encore. The band rocked the songs, took their break, and came to drop a new song on us and then two songs off post-Fortress albums. I’m sure many wanted some of the older songs, but you have to respect and understand a band’s desire the play songs they wrote more recently.
The show was incredible and Protest the Hero’s performance can only be described as epic and full of majesty.