Since releasing their third studio album, The Agent Intellect, to critical acclaim, Protomartyr have been touring steadily. They recently rolled into the Cat’s Cradle Back Room in Carrboro, NC to deliver a dose of moody post-punk filtered through their noisy Motor City punk and garage-rock roots. Singer Joe Casey walked up to the mike, calmly looked out into the room, popped open a beer and Protomartyr took off. The band launched into a trio of tracks from the new album, “Cowards Starve,” into “I Forgive You,” followed by “Boyce or Boice.” It felt like sitting in the passenger seat a muscle car. The driver looks at you with a calm deadpan expression, and without warning stomps his foot on the accelerator. Equal parts exhilarating and terrifying. What followed was a powerful set driven by hammering guitar lines, propulsive drumming and vocals that ranged from casual and measured to a powerful roar, often in the same song. The band focused primarily on songs from The Agent Intellect, but tore through some classics like “Scum, Rise!” and “Violent,” as well. And then… As quickly as it began, it was over. Protomartyr delivered a barrage of focused intensity that was every bit as emotional as it was succinct. Definitely a ride worth taking.
Opening the evening were local Raleigh experimental duo Bodykit followed by Spray Paint, a punk trio based out of Austin.