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A Concert Review

March 4, 1997

The Metro

Chicago, IL

A Review by
The Dude on the Right
How's this for being in a tough spot. You're a band. Tough enough. In the case of this night you're a band called Protein. Fine. How's about you're a band that is opening for the opening band of the band coming before the headliner. Yep, four bands and you're the first on the bill. That's pretty tough too. Well, add this to the fact that in every notice around town they only list three bands and say the show starts at 7 PM. Problem is you're the fourth band and the show actually starts at 6:30. Alright, do you have all of that? What happens in this case? Well, in the case of Protein this night, you play like the place is packed, even though there's only about 40 some odd people listening to you (including the venue staff).

Protein is a trio from the San Francisco area that tells people their many influences are Pantera, Hank Williams, 80's metal bands, and "Star Wars." This night in Chicago they had thirty minutes to cram in as much music from their current CD, "Ever Since I Was a Kid," and during those minutes nearly all of those influences came through. And one more thing came through, you can write lyrics to just about anything.

Yep, I'm standing there listening to songs like "Refrigerator" and "Over My Head" and wondering what really causes someone to write a song like these. But I'm also thinking the music is as much about those varying influences, maybe more so, than the lyrics. I didn't notice those influences listening to the CD, but watching Protein this night they threw in some decent guitar jams, especially during "In Half," that reminded me of the big-haired metal bands of yesterday, and they tossed in this great instrumental that showed country did indeed play a part in their development.

Protein puts on a decent show, considering everything they had going against them, and the crowd was polite, seemed to like the band, but just had no clue where they came from. More than some "three chord" bands of today, Protein helped to show that guitar-driven bands can actually have some talent. They aren't going to win any awards for their vocal abilities (no Pavarotti here), and really don't seem to have that "hook" song yet to launch them into mainstream radio, but in time they have the potential to move up to the top of the marquee. My overall opinion though, is the band needs to get out of the "quirky" mode their CD shows ("I've got a refrigerator, heavy as can be") and use those past influences, and their already evident musical talent, to develop songs to stand the test of time. Well, it's a weak thumb up for Protein. They held their own during their thirty minutes, the crowd didn't throw shit at them and no one yelled "You suck." They didn't suck, they just need some work.

That's it for this one, I'm The Dude on the Right! L8R!!


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