A Night At The.. the.. umm.. some sort of 8-bit slash opera pun..
June 18, 2012 7:41 PM   Subscribe

MetaFilter faves/VGM legends/Jim Steinman incarnates The Protomen have taken a sabbatical from their epic concept album trilogy-in-works based on the MegaMan canon to record a tribute to Queen.

The Protomen have always been known for their covers of influential or fun songs. Because of the nature of their being (strictly only writing songs within their own universe based loosely upon Capcoms MegaMan franchise), it is the only time you ever hear them play anything that it outside their established narrative. Popular for doing faithful and non-ironic covers of such hits as Against All Odds (Phil Collins), The Power Of Love (Huey Lewis & The News), Danger Zone (Kenny Loggins), Silent Running (Mike & The Mechanics), and popular crowd pleaser Total Eclipse Of The Heart (Bonnie Tyler), just to list a few.

In recent years, they have also amassed a number of Queen covers. Arguably one of the most difficult bands in the world to cover/provide tribute to due to the difficulty of the vocal arrangements and otherwise amazing musicianship/difficult to achieve instrument tonalities, The Protomen have however achieved possibly the best attempts to cover one of rocks greatest bands and emulate one of the most signature vocal sounds in rock history. Recording a live performance and releasing it as a tribute to the band as a bonus for fans hungry for new songs from the band in the interim between albums in their invented storyline, The Protomen have attained a godlike place in music as one of the very few bands to ever do Queen any justice in attempts to play their songs.

From deep cuts like Scandal to popular radio hits like Killer Queen and Princes Of The Universe to the obligatory take on Bohemian Rhapsody, The Protomen have provided fans with an amazing show of raw musicianship in a live context and wet their appetites for further original work.
posted by mediocre (14 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
I am a fool for forgetting to provide a link to purchase the album: which can be found here.
posted by mediocre at 7:42 PM on June 18, 2012

No post about Protomen covers is complete without PAT DANZATAR. Hearing this live & unexpected is one of my more durable concert memories.
posted by thedaniel at 7:48 PM on June 18, 2012 [1 favorite]

I've gotten to see the Protomen live twice. Once, in Atlanta at Dragon*Con, where they played their first album all the way through, then did as their encore 'Danger Zone' and 'Silent Running'.

The second time in Portland, OR, where it was kind of random what they did - stuff from both Protomen and Protomen II: Father of Death, and interspersed was some of their covers, including Princes of the Universe.

Really, they're a great band live, in part because the sheer joy they have in the music is infectious - there's a certain inherent ridiculousness to it, but they accept and plow through it, and bring the audience with them.
posted by mephron at 7:50 PM on June 18, 2012 [1 favorite]

Once drove an 8-hour round trip to see them play in the strangest duck bowling alley I've ever seen. One of the best concerts of my whole life. They played Princes of the Universe to close out the show -- I was delighted to hear they were doing a whole album.

Incidentally, if you're a Queen fan and you've never heard of these guys, you'll really dig their rock-opera take on Mega Man. The Will of One is a goddamned national treasure.
posted by The demon that lives in the air at 8:10 PM on June 18, 2012 [1 favorite]

There can never be too many Protomen FPPs. This album really is amazing. A review (that I can't remember the URL to) really said it well: This is like listening to Queen at their height, playing in a comfortable venue.
posted by CrystalDave at 9:07 PM on June 18, 2012 [1 favorite]

I was hoping for Act III, but this will tide me over for a bit.

Also, if you're just getting into The Protomen, give it a listen.....and if you like it, go back and give it another listen while reading the liner notes.

This is possibly the only time I'll ever explicitly recommend reading liner notes, but in this case, they turn two great albums into two awesome albums.

Oh, and go see them live. Trust me (and everyone else in this thread) on this one.
posted by schmod at 10:00 PM on June 18, 2012

I love the Protomen, but I find myself agreeing with the YouTube commenter who says he wishes they would just do the third album, because these covers aren't really doing anything different with the songs. I'm sure they're fun to hear live, and maybe the album is different from what's been posted here, but otherwise, I'm not seeing the point of the album.
posted by adamdschneider at 10:11 PM on June 18, 2012

I am a fool for forgetting to provide a link to purchase the album: which can be found here.

Is there a YouTube playlist?
posted by mrgrimm at 10:58 PM on June 18, 2012 [1 favorite]

Once drove an 8-hour round trip to see them play in the strangest duck bowling alley I've ever seen.

Was it Plaza Bowl in Richmond, VA? They played there multiple times, but sadly the place has gone out of business. It was always hard for The Protomen to find venues in Richmond that had a big enough stage to accommodate their shows and Plaza Bowl was one of them. Although they did play Empire and Wonderland, both small bars, and those shows were great.

I love the Protomen, but I find myself agreeing with the YouTube commenter who says he wishes they would just do the third album.

I don't think you realize how much work and time (they tour a lot) actually goes into making a full album. These are people with actual lives who have bills to pay that the whole rock opera schtick ain't paying. Hell, I was with them in the studio in Nashville when they were recording part of No Easy Way Out for that two song LP they put out a while back and so much work went into just a fraction of the song. Also at some point, they have to do things for themselves. Not that they don't listen to the fans, they do and they keep up with what people are saying on the internets (they probably have already read this thread). But what a lot of people don't know is that these people LOVE music, really fucking love it and they especially love music from that era. So the Queen album just makes so much sense (also who else can sing Queen songs like that, no one!). Anyway, I could keep going on but now I'm just feeling extreme guilt that I didn't go say hi the last time they were here in Richmond.

Is there a YouTube playlist?

The album is on Spotify if you want to listen to it there.
posted by MaryDellamorte at 11:03 PM on June 18, 2012 [1 favorite]

I've been following The Protomen for a while now, own both albums. The Queen album sounds great in theory, but the end result is tailored for their live shows and not home listening. They are pretty much doing note-for-note covers, which makes this more of a "that's pretty cool" exercise than the general awesomeness that permeates their own material.

I do realize a band has to pay bills, so if this brings us Part III, then bring it on.
posted by alvarete at 1:34 AM on June 19, 2012

This has been on heavy rotation in our car ever since it showed up. It is a really faithful cover album, but you still get some of the live show vibe. And the guy who does the ever so slightly over the top David Bowie on "Under Pressure" cracks me up every time.

Also, RIP Plaza Bowl. :(
posted by JoanArkham at 5:17 AM on June 19, 2012

They're playing in Nashville on Friday, and we're driving over from Atlanta to see them. I think they're the band I've traveled the most to see - Nashville three times, and Birmingham once.

The Remones are playing with them - a Ramones tribute band, and also The Non Commissioned Officers, who we saw one of the previous times, and they were also good.
posted by needlegrrl at 6:36 AM on June 19, 2012

MaryDellamorte: It was indeed! I really hope they come to Richmond again.

Though I'd prefer Blacksburg or Roanoke so I don't have to drive so damned far
posted by The demon that lives in the air at 1:31 PM on June 19, 2012

I've got a good friend in that band. I'm not surprised they're doing an album of Queen material as when I saw them a couple weeks ago they used a mask clearly inspired by the News Of The World album cover.
posted by sourwookie at 5:20 PM on June 19, 2012

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