Protomartyr at Latitude Sunrise Arena

Watch out! That really pissed, really angry guy’s coming for you! And he’s got… well, he’s got three of those unpopular guys from school with him. But they look different now.

For the record, I did leave this venue, but someone went and put all the interesting acts in one place, so I’m back.

Singer Joe Casey looks like a slightly well-dressed tramp and is here to remind you, just in case you’d made some mistake, that he really doesn’t give a fuck. And, truth be told, he’s pretty disgusted with you. And with the rest of humanity come to that. But, you know, he’s got a job to do so let’s just get on with it.

These two-minute bursts of angry energy are perfect for a festival set, even if most of us aren’t really in the mood for the kind of angry moshing and fighting that this richly deserves.

Casey has more than a shade of Mark E Smith to him, in his cadence, delivery and contemptuous drunken disdain. He necks Carlsberg (other vile, watery lagers are available) throughout, as does the bassist, emphasising how crucial he is to proceedings with his temporary absences.

In all honesty, I’m not knowledgeable enough to really compare Protomartyr to all the punk influences that I can definitely hear, and I’d just enrage the punk aficionados if I tried, but I know that they’re doing it right.

This is definitely not the right place to see Protomartyr (too much attitude for Latitude), but they still drew quite a crowd with their noise. It felt wrong to do that classic feet-stuck-to-the-ground nodding-dancing to this, but collectively we weren’t quite ready to let go as a crowd. Not the band’s fault at all, and certainly not unheard-of at Latitude!

It is interesting to ask why this would be something that anyone would want to see. Why is so much anger and aggression so much fun? Some form of catharsis? I suspect that truly happy people probably wouldn’t understand this. I suppose they’re voicing our anger for us; embodying the misanthropy we all sometimes feel, and giving it space to flex its muscles. Whatever it is, it feels great.

They make this look easy, but if it was easy then everyone would do it, and honestly, not many do it this well.

 

A version of this review first appeared at fringereview.co.uk

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