“Welcome to the new America, I guess,” mumbled frontman Joe Casey.
  • “Welcome to the new America, I guess,” mumbled frontman Joe Casey.
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“Welcome to the new America, I guess,” mumbled frontman Joe Casey a few songs into Detroit band Protomartyr’s set the night after Election Day. And then, just off-mic: “What a bummer.”

“His privilege came before him, the promise of adoring, the devil in his youth...”

“His privilege came before him, the promise of adoring, the devil in his youth...”

The band launched into “Blues Festival,” an almost comically prophetic song from a 2015 split seven inch. “Take it from somebody who knows,” Casey bellowed, “There's something coming up and I think it's gonna be a joke/ I gotta laugh about it/ laugh about it on my own/ life itself, like an arrow shot on its arc.”

Over a dozen or so songs, Protomartyr presented themselves as the post-punk take on the Bible’s Job, offering tales of regular men beset by endless blunt catastrophe, set to deceptively catchy tunes reminiscent of the Fall or Pere Ubu. Then, “The Devil in His Youth,” another song with almost jarring relevancy: “His privilege came before him, the promise of adoring, the devil in his youth,” sang Casey. “The women didn’t love him…so he screamed, ‘Now you bend!’”

There was something of a talk-show-host-addressing-an-audience-after-a-national-tragedy vibe about the affair; the shell-shocked audience was desperate for catharsis, and Protomartyr delivered.

  • Concert: Protomartyr
  • Date: November 9
  • Venue: Soda Bar
  • Seats: Right up front
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