I’ll admit it right away that seeing Protest The Hero the past weekend was the first time I had ever been to Varsity Theater. Even before I moved to Boston almost five years ago, I never made the journey into Dinkytown to pay a visit to the venue. With little to no prior knowledge of the venue itself, I will say that it made me feel right at home; Varsity Theater has a homey feeling, enclosed with brick walls and chandeliers hanging from the ceiling. I made it right on time for the start of the show, the anticipation of photographing somewhere new and unfamiliar to me setting in.
First up for the evening was Thank You Scientist, a band I was unfortunately unfamiliar with prior to their set. As soon as the band took the stage I noticed three things immediately that piqued my interest: a violin, a saxophone, and a trumpet. I knew I was in for something different but this band’s fusion of technical metal and rock/jazz brass instruments blew me away. Even though there were seven musicians on stage, the cohesiveness of each part was incredible; every instrument intertwined perfectly from song to song. Seeing Thank You Scientist live, albeit my first time, made me excited for when this band will come back to the Twin Cities.
Next up was Closure In Moscow, yet another band I have not seen live prior to this evening but have been meaning to see for quite some time. Hailing from Australia, this band played a majority of their 2009 album “First Temple” to a particularly enthusiastic front row crowd. The quintet, not shy of encouraging an ongoing banter with the crowd, held an intense and energetic stage presence that accentuated their musical prowess. Displaying a range of technical metal to at times slower riffs and melodies, Closure to Moscow’s set was a perfect blend of fast paced and melodic metal.
Last to take the stage we’re headliners Protest The Hero, celebrating the ten year anniversary of their 2008 album “Fortress.” Whole the show itself wasn’t sold out it had to be close; the crowd was packed in to see this set. From the moment the lights dimmed, their set brought an unmatched intensity to the crowd. With only seeing this band once before (opening for August Burns Red last year), I knew they would put on a fantastic progressive, melodic metal set and Protest The Hero did just that. Seeing “Fortress” from front to back was a special and unique experience, and being able to share it with the crowd made the night more than worthwhile.