DECEMBER 14th 2016

Review by Lana Muirhead
Photos by Peter Ruttan

I had a few bands on the list this night that I had not seen but heard great things about…yet still went in musically blind to be either pleasantly or disappointingly surprised. A strange mix of choices to throw together but Auras, A Wilhelm Scream and Protest The Hero were rockin’ the crowds like they do.

Auras, a four-piece out of Cambridge – wait for it – Ontario!!! Had the infamous Nathan Bulla beating on drums, Aaron Hallman and Josh Ligaya crushing riffs and Eric Almeida screaming his beautiful face off.  Rooting themselves in the djent/prog metalcore genre but integrating a smooth bluesy-groove feel, Auras has you moving your body and banging your head at the same time. They were energetic, hard, and just what was needed to jumpstart my night (as I missed the Cyclamen).

Next up was A Wilhelm Scream, talked up to me so much that I had to show for their set: a set that pushed the boundary with a punk/metalcore fusion. The band has been around since 1999 and came together in New Bedford, Maryland.  A plethora of name changes and equal parts lineup amendments set the current tour cast as Nicholas Pasquale Angelini on drums, Brian J. Robinson on bass and backing vocals, Mike Supina on guitar, Trevor Reilly on guitar and vocals, and Nuno Periera on lead vocals.

The band last put a record out in November 2013 and still drew a considerable crowd.  Pulling from all 6 full lengths AWS spent their stage time running, jumping, and riling the crowd.  They did incite some good ole fashioned punk stomping, moshing and lots of singing.  As performers they delivered: and as a band they rocked the house. We then got onto the main event: the tour supporting Protest The Hero’s latest album Pacific Myth. If any of you are faithful followers you’ll know that I was only slightly hotter than lukewarm about this album but I found myself shamefully wondering how a writer can possibly eat their own words after hearing it live. I feel I could at least eat ‘em with ketchup though because I knew that I would like everything better live.

As per usual the band was tight and delivered a stellar set.  Mike Ieradi owned the drum kit with impeccable timing and control of the shell of every tune played.  Cam McLellan, while slapping his bass and upping the headbang quotient, reminded the crowd that while not necessarily in the spotlight he is a force to be reckoned with. Tim Millar easily kept with McLellan and challenged the boundaries of the role of rhythm guitarists across the board.  If there were two words for a female orgasm on stage for guitar enthusiasts, they would be Luke Hoskin. The man can hit every string, blend melodies, and move his hands around that guitar like he was born with it in his hands.  Rounded out by the talented vocal stylings of Rody Walker there is really no way that a show can go off the rails, except to crash the locomotive into a bigger, better party well outside Vancouver’s budget.

PTH opened with “Yellow Teeth”, then bolstered their setlist with new tracks “Tidal” and “Harbringer”, a single track, “Nautical” from the album Kezia, several tracks off Fortress, “C’est La Vie”, “Hair-Trigger”, and “Sex Tapes” from Scurrilous. The biggest pull was from the album Volition with not only the opener, but closer “Mist” and encore “Skies”. There was not a disappointed cat in the house, though I myself would have liked to hear at least one more track from the latest release.  Even if it was one of my least favourites from the album, I felt like I would have been much more inclined to wag my plump lèvres about how unbelievable it was live.

Regardless, a good time was had, some beers were drank, and the only glitch was the seamlessly integrated fart noises that McLellan snuck into the pre-recorded bits for the set.  When that cat screeched out of the bag all it did was further prove that Protest The Hero are not only phenomenal musicians, but fucking funny good ole dudes that enjoy each other and what they do on all fronts. Great show, great time and comedy with a side of rock show.