Gig Review Archives

Archives of live show reviews from 2004-2010. Many of these reviews are referring to a band that no longer exists; multiple band member changes and reformulations of the group plus near-constant touring have turned the current lineup into a thunderous machine. See the current gig reviews

2004

Nashville Zine April 22, 2004; the first live performance of the group at The Boro Bar and Grill - "Hearing nothing about the Protomen before seeing them, I was amazed at what a performance they put on. A great vibe and sound coming out of these finely tuned robots built for killing and performance."

Nashville Zine October 31, 2004 - "You guys act as though you're not excited about the damn Protomen. Music is safe now we can all sleep soundly." (Editor's note: This is the second show and there are already people commenting about coming in from out of town.)

2005

Nashville Zine April 21, 2005 - "The Protomen, Carnivorous Space Cow, and MakeupandVanity Set out to rock M’boro tonight. Come let them rock your face off. Seriously, your face will no longer be attached to your head when you leave this show."

Nashville Zine April 24, 2005 - "My first impression of the show was the size of the crowd! They really drew an ass load of people for a band that sings about Mega Man. Oh, did I mention that? Yeah, they’re a Mega Man tribute act, of sorts. The lead singer actually dresses up like the 8-bit wonder, while the other band members dress up like (I think) the different bosses. Was is cool? Kinda. It was obviously in good fun, but these guys put some serious time into the act and their costumes. The songs were OK (just imagine a rock opera about a video game), although incredibly loud. They put microphones on everything (including guitar amps), and you just don’t do that at the Boro! The crowd response was the biggest surprise. I couldn’t believe that so many people were freaking out about this! I guess people love a good show, and The Protomen delivered."

2006

Seeking reviews from this time period. If you have any, please contact the editor right away!

2007

Fort90 Journal: April 2007, Knitting Factory, Brooklyn NY "It was… okay I guess. I hesitate on using the word “cute”, since it was a rock show, but thats how it was to me. If anything the show made me feel OLD. And not just because a lot of the folks in the audience were half my age (I’m turning 30 in a just a little over a week btw, and man, am I ever feeling it these days), but because the music was just too plain fucking loud. … And the entire tale that was being told seemed quite intriguing; it ís just that I couldn’t understand a fucking word! It was by far the worst sounding live performance I have ever heard… the levels were all out of wack, and I can’t blame the venue since almost everything I have heard at the Knitting Factory has sounded great (the place just has more than decent acoustics, though maybe Joe can argue differently since he plays there so often). Also adding to the annoyance was how it took them over an hour to hit the stage, seemingly for no reason, and not once did I see any sort of sound check (I guess it could have happened beforehand, but by the sounds of things, I seriously doubt it)."

Nashville Scene: December 2007, The End, Nashville TN "Marching through the front door in a single-file procession, The Protomen banged handheld drums in unison as they made their way to the front. From behind the crowd, a lone trumpeter announced the band’s arrival just before the curtain dropped and The Protomen commenced with Act I of their infamous rock opera. Fists were pumped with irrepressible fervor as the band’s six core members (painted in silver) bombarded their adoring public with layer upon layer of guitars and synths. Just off stage were half a dozen auxiliary members contributing additional vocals, violin, trumpet, keyboards and overall moral support. The band debuted a few new numbers from the unfinished Act II and added completely unironic renditions of Prince’s “I Would Die 4 U,” the obvious but appropriate “Mr. Roboto,” a rousing medley of Pat Benetar’s “Invincible” and Danzig’s “Mother.” If The Protomen keep up this kind of hoopla much longer, we just might be forced to stop calling them a novelty act."

2008

DaftGambit October 2008 (?), 12th and Porter, Nashville TN: "The band is pure energy and everything, from their seizure-inducing lighting effects to their driving guitars, keytars, drums and synth, keeps the audience at a fever pitch. Lyrics are inspiring, if a bit over-the-top, keeping die-hard fans at the pinnacle of enthusiasm. The theatrics of their show could rival that of big name acts, with the artist’s giving everything they have over to the crowd. At one point a guitarist is not only crowd-surfing, he is surfing while still playing the song, wired to the stage while being jostled by the teeming throng."

2009

Nine Bullets September 2009, Nerdapalooza, Orlando, FL "Well it turns out The Protomen make a great live experience …in my opinion, but AIV had complaints about the sound. No doubt, the acoustics of the little conference hall and ongoing mixing problems at the event contributed to lessen the sound quality, but the band rocked on despite that." See also: "There was The Protomen’s set so mired in feedback that you would have thought they brought it along as their special guest." …"While the Protomen set certainly suffered from bad mixing (where were those awesome female vocals?) their sound is definitively noisy and I love it. Didn’t put me off at all."… "

Nashville Cream September 25, 2009, Act II release Mercy Lounge TN "Well then you are, after all, as awesome as these crazy kids, who've been sitting in line at Mercy Lounge for about five-and-a-half hours now in anticipation of seeing The Protomen bring Act II: The Father of Death to life. Bless their ever-living hearts. And you said kids today don't care about anything!"

Fruit Tree Music September 25. 2009, Mercy Lounge, Nashville TN, Act II release "At one point, Panther asked the crowd who was NOT from Nashville; a roar erupted through the whole venue. These people road tripped. They flew. They caravaned, and came to this show. Unbelievable. … This show was a singular moment in this band’s career and the opening night of a huge tour; after this I’m sure there’s bigger things ahead."

Mordicai@LJ October 25, 2009, venue unknown, Manhattan, NY "The set was awesome. The crowd was sparse— I was hoping Gotham Warriors would crawl up from the woodwork, & some did, but not enough for my taste. Maybe there were more at the second show. Still; James & I were the closest to the stage. … The singer who does Doctor Wiley's parts was in a suit with a "W" painted on his face, & had a really great stage-flip-out ability. The lead singer has a true Nashville Apocalypse thing going on, cowboy boots & tcb glasses… So let me just say that their Wall of Sound was technically competent, emotionally explosive, & forced the crowd to raise their fists in the air. The set-list was mostly Act II: The Father of Death, starting with "The Father of Death," into "The Hounds," then "Breaking Out," then "Keep Quiet," into "Light up the Night." Then there was a cover of Roy Orbison's "I Drove All Night" as an attack against Celine Dion. They closed up shop with "Hope Rides Alone," which they have a helmet with a built in mic for. Protoman raised his buster canon as the crowd shouted over & over with them we are the dead!. A pretty amazing experience, & I wish I had gone to the midnight show at Trash Bar."

Johnny Wander October 25, 2009 (in comic form!) See also: "They played two shows last Saturday, one in Manhattan and the other in Brooklyn, and we went to both (Darryl joined us in Brooklyn) - ohhhh man. These guys rocked Manhattan, but they blew the doors off the Brooklyn venue. The drummer, Reanimator, threw his drumstick to George, who caught it - WITH HIS FACE. Awesome."

Tales of Mandee P. Photography November 8, 2009, Heirloom Arts, Danbury CT "This is seriously one of the most amazing things I have ever seen. You can tell that this is just so thought out and carefully planned, yet you never loose that feeling of spontaneity. It was theatrical, yes. Probably the most theatrical things the will ever come through the Heirloom Arts Theatre. I still was filled with the excitement and anticipation of what was going to happen next." (with nice photos from - blog belongs to the house photographer at the Heirloom Arts Theatre in Danbury, CT)

2010

Mouse and Cat March 18, 2010, A&G Ohio "After the show was delayed until 12:30 a.m., and after the audience was told to wait for an additional hour, expectations were high as we filed into the room. Waiting for us there was Kilroy – wearing his “formal wear” to apologize for the delay … Protoman (possibly played by Kilroy, though we weren’t sure) had some great one-liners, like "Do you, uh, do you want to continue on with this train wreck?" and "Don’t step on my line ever again," in response to one of the audience members. Despite the goof-ups and the out-of-character asides – or possibly because of them – the audience ate it up. Also notable is Panther/Megaman’s humorous address to Protoman, in which he states, "I will not fight you," while comically tapping his Mega Buster against Protoman’s helmet. More moshing. At this point, the audience is ecstatic. The music of the Protomen is made for live performance, and the audience reacted in kind. Keep in mind that at this point, it’s about 2 or 3 in the morning. Whether because of the energy of the band or because of the lack of sleep, or possibly a combination of the two, we seemed capable of anything." (lots of video!)

Extra Guy: March 2010, Mohawk Place, Buffalo NY. "Before Sons of Fate, Protoman came onstage and declared that, because the crowd had done nothing while he was almost killed (in Hope Rides Alone), he was going to burn Buffalo down. The crowd didn’t really seem to care (Buffalo’s not all that bad, but it’s also hard to argue with the opinion that it sometimes sucks), so Protoman asked what we did care about. It was hard to hear, but I think someone answered ‘the wings!’ to which Protoman replied ‘Well then I’ll burn that!’ ‘You walked right into that one,’ Panther acknowledged, then said, ‘enough of this; now I have to act!’ and resumed the dialogue."

Gamer's Adventure April 6, 2010- PAX East, Boston MA (brief): "I was aware of the Protomen, and that they played songs based around Protoman from the Mega Man series, as opposed to being a video game band that plays covers. Their initial songs had a post-apocalyptic flavor to them, with old video of bombs going off playing on the screens. The members of the band had silver paint on their faces, and sang about being under control with robots and stuff. The band leader came out with a Mega Man style helmet that he kept on until the middle of the set, where they played a song with kind of a ragtime sound to it. At the end of the set they played a song about Protoman (which apparently they usually play at the beginning), where the leader dawned a Protoman mask, based on the Break Man appearance in Mega Man 3, which is one of the coolest things ever. I kinda feel like the band started with the idea to sing about Mega Man, but branched out from that, though I haven’t seen the band until now. They told the audience that they were there to spread a message and that they were honored to ally themselves with a bunch of nerds."

EVE Newb April 6, 2010, PAX East, Boston MA "Wow. Who would have thought that this would be one of the biggest highlights of the weekend for me. A couple of my friends had been telling me about a band called The Protomen that were going to be playing at the Friday night concert so I purchased their albums a few days before we left and gave them a good listen. …Their performance on Friday night was fantastic and I can only describe it was a weird combination of an opera, an 80's metal/synth band and Meatloaf."

Nerd Lust April 2010, The Haven, Winter Park FL "A guitarist co-worker of mine told me to expect excellent sound and lighting at The Haven (the fortunate result of Full Sail University’s immediate proximity) and his words were true. The technical production of the show was flawless excepting only the volume of Panther’s Protoman helmet mic, which probably should have been set up separately from what he used for the rest of the show. I wish I could give you a set list, but I’m terrible about that. I can’t interrupt my intake of the performance to take notes, and I’m simply unable to remember which songs were played unaided. Just pretend that, whatever your favorite Protomen songs might be, they were played. It was an energetic performance with few lulls, and a thoroughly engaged audience. There was clapping, stomping, more clapping, fist pumping, yet more clapping, indeed more fist pumping, and sometimes too much singing from the crowd."

The Good Life April 24, 2010, Red and Black, Washington DC: "The Protomen show was unquestionably the strangest show I've ever been to. It wasn't bad exactly, and it certainly wasn't boring; it was just strange. They would build and pound these ten-minute mood tracks ("Hope Rides Alone," "Light Up The Night"), and then they'd deliver a spirited, upbeat cover of "Total Eclipse of the Heart." It made no sense … I would have liked to revel in this strangeness … but all I could really focus on was the temperature.The show was held in the attic of The Red & The Black, a 500-foot cubby hole with 100-degree heat. If I had gone sleeveless like the guitarist or shirtless like the drummer, I might have been able to get past the heat."

Chocolate Gamer: April 2010, Santos Party House, NY "For me personally, I have been to many rock concerts before. However, this is the first time I have been to one in a bar setting like Santos. I thought it would be like any other concert I have been to, but it was totally different. Maybe it was the small sized venue, maybe it was the pure awesomeness of the music. Whatever the reason was, the energy in there was amazing, and I did something I never thought I’d do…I head banged. It was magical…truly magical. Anyway, the concert was great, purely amazing. If any of you readers out there get the chance to see them live in concert go, you will be part of an amazing experience with face melting music."

Catchy Name News June 9, 2010, Knoxville gig
"They apparently got to the show late, and then took a fucking hour and a half to set their equipment up. They had a few keyboards, a guitar, a bass, a drum kit, and a couple of amps. Most of the sound was already run, because the venue had a sound system. This should have taken 20 fucking minutes, or even less, to set up, judging by the equipment they used (which, yes, I am familiar with). The worst part is that after all this work, they played one song which didn’t work right. Then, after about 10 more minutes of messing with their equipment, when the supposedly “legendary” stage show started, they hit a piece of metal with a hammer. I didn’t know the in-depth story or anything, but I’m a sucker for theatrics. After that, though, it was about 30 minutes of playing normally, albeit in hats and makeup, at a volume sufficient to make the poorly mixed sound irrelevant. Then, they played an admittedly awesome version of Total Eclipse of the Heart, and packed up and left town. That was it."

editor note: This was unfortunately one of the gigs where Panther was down with a bum voice and couldn't sing: Turbo Lover and The Gambler were filling in, having learned lyrics in the bus on the way there, and the group was petrified. See Commander's response in the comments for more details on this gig. See also Catchy Name News followup post June 16.

Christopher Cowan July 10, 2010, Game Over Video Games, TX "When I arrived at the "venue" it was obviously a congregation point for those on the nerdier side of the tracks. The store was a strip mall near the corner of Anderson and Lamar, and is like a museum for video games and game consoles, going all the way back to the Atari days. The actual show was in an empty stall next door. About 30 people were already milling around waiting for the show. An announcement went out that the band had arrived late, without the 2 opening acts, but that the show would be going on. When they finally let us into the empty stall, it was hot and loud. None the less, this 9 piece band (7 guys and 2 gals) delivered the goods."

(Game Over Videogames; from description of video on Youtube) "The one…the only….Mega Man tribute band, the PROTOMEN, played an amazing show at Game Over Videogames in Austin, TX last weekend. It was HOT, LOUD, and you could get right up in the band's face. We even had Mega Man NES games playing on the ceiling above the band all night long!!!! It was awesome!!! Plus, after the show, they did a 2 hours in store autograph / arm wrestling session, and signed EVERY single thing people wanted signed."

Caoine.org July 17 and 18, 2010, Orlando FL, Nerdapalooza "They elevated the weekend from awesome to fucking incredible. Saturday was plagued by technical problems and other bullshit, so that by the time we reached the headliner slot, the show was four hours late. Then we found out Panther had been struck down with food poisoning and wouldn’t be going on at all. I was pretty sure there was going to be a nerd riot at that point, but the Protomen told us that not only would they take the stage anyway for a Panther-less half set, they were still going to do an entire show after MC Frontalot on Sunday night. The Saturday night mini-set ended up being completely epic — they used audience members and the sheer power of rock to make up for the lack of lead vocals and keyboard. The Sunday show, with the band at full strength, completely blew me away. I cannot wait to see them again."

editor note: Pantherwas down again, and this time due to poisoning! Someone unwisely allowed hallucinogen-laced cookies into the hands of staff and artists at the con and they found their way to the green room. GeekDad broke this story. Panther made (hilarious) reference to it the second night; thankfully, he and all the band are fine and continue touring as normal.

Free Times July 21, 2010, Columbia SC, The House "Put simply: The Protomen lived up to the hype."

Following the Protomen July 2010, multiple venues - check out this dude's blog as he follows the Protomen on tour from MA to Jacksonville and back again!

No Tile Zone July 21, 2010, Columbia SC, The House "The Protomen are also one of the best concerts I’ve attended, with my legs barely ever pausing during all of my excited jumping in place and fist-pumping. They play to the audience in just about every song, whether summoning everyone to clap to a dramatic beat, raise fists in unison, or chant along with the chorus representing humanity in some songs. The Protomen are still small-time enough in popularity that they play dive bars, but you can sense the enthusiasm they feel when, after a decent set, the crowd shouts, 'PRO-TO-MEN!' at the top of its lungs until the band returns to revive game-rock-opera for another half hour. The band’s robot-faced liaison will reappear and say, 'I thought I said good night. You have made it through the battle, but are not yet weary? Do you want…more?'"

Nashville Scene August 6, 2010, Nashville TN, 12 and Porter "Considering they have an entirely new lineup seemingly every time we catch them, The Protomen are a remarkably consistent live band. They cultivate a kind of energy and fan response that borders on “frothing.” Everything gets a massive reaction, from the entrance of KILLROY, who we figure is basically their Flavor Flav, to when Protoman gets stabbed with a broken keytar by Gambler. But by far the best thing to come to the band’s live show as of late is Turbo Lover acting like a deranged carnival barker. And we mean that in the kindest way possible. Every time he appeared onstage, he stole the show, which ain’t easy when the show in question involves elaborate video screen art and a robot making boner jokes."

RVA Mag Editor Recommended. August 13, 2010, Plaza Bowl "Looming above and behind the slick ink stain of the DJ, Kilroy made a lively, colorful addition to the set, and seemed to fit right in with the bizarre backdrop around him. With the crowd closed in tight, you’d have to work your eyes to pick out the DJ and his energetic hype-man. But between the pumping fists, the occasional Protomen fan in costume, and the changing neon of the bowling lanes around them, there they were, working together to make that next dance line. And when the guy leading that dance line is 6’2” and wearing a horse mask, you know it’s been a good show."

Inspired Lunacy August 14 2010, BitGen 5, Baltimore MD "The Protomen realized that this might be a problem during their set and so, while they were setting up (which took nearly an hour), their personal MC/cheerleader K.I.L.R.O.Y. attempted to rid the crowd of their excess energy and also get them excited for the band by leading an impromptu dance-off and then a train around the club led by the winner of said dance-off. Unfortunately, the moshing actually got worse, so much so that it almost ruined the show. The moshers were even moshing during songs that were completely inappropriate for moshing. I'm not even sure they were paying attention to the music at this point…. As for The Protomen…well, they were still awesome, of course. But I'm glad that wasn't my first time seeing them, since the constant moshing made it very difficult to pay attention."

El Video de Melodica: August 2010 "The show itself was a little rocky to start, I don't know if they brought their own sound person or if their guy wasn't ready or what, but the first two songs were not mixed well at all. And even after they got going, the guitars never got that good of a tone, and one sounded out of tune. That being said, the rest of it was very well done. The drums in particular sounded very rock solid. The vocals were great, both the lead and the two women on backing vocals sounded awesome. Keys were well mixed and had a good sound and the bass was driving and powerful. It was very fun, they encouraged people to sing the "chorus" type parts of the songs and it made them sound very epic."

The Watch September 13, 2010 - podcast, general discussion of the double gig at CIA in LA in late August 2010. (discussions begin around 27 minute mark)

The Deli Nashville October 2, 2010- Next Big Nashville, Exit/In Nashville, TN "A friend told me you have to acquire a taste for Protomen, which may be true; while the people close to the front were clearly big fans, some showgoers near the back seemed less than interested in this masked and face-painted band. I found all the beckoning to the audience a bit arrogant and one attendee remarked that they didn’t play their best songs."

Cassandra Reviews December 10, 2010, Exit/In Nashville, TN "The cast eschewed their usual costumes in favor of 80's Queen-inspired outfits ; lots of white spandex and a lot of big, goofy grins. They were having a hell of a good time. I should also add HOLY SHIT Sir Bakker and Ringo Segundo - talk about nailing the Brian May! Solo after solo, line after line. It was gorgeous."

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License