Live Review

Plini, Protest The Hero & I Built The Sky @ Princess Theatre

Sydney Prog Rock guitar wizard Plini decided to bring his Canadian friends Protest The Hero and Melbourne's I built the Sky on a run across the land of Oz and on 2nd February 2023 the juggernaut rolled into the Princess Theatre in Annerley (Meanjin/ Briz).

Owing to a magick carpet conniption we caught the last two songs of I built the Sky who were whipping the crowd into a cathartic frenzy.

Protest the Hero were on next with singer Rody Walker busting out a voice that hit almost five octaves and he was literally bouncing off the crowd's energy. Protest the Hero play precise, anthemic math-metal prog-rock. Imagine Rush and Dillinger Escape Plan with a pinch of At the Drive In humming away in the centre, threatening to explode at any moment. Opening up with The Migrant Mother and checking all the satellites on the way to Orion they finally left us six songs later with mindcrusher All Hands. An insanely great outfit!!

Not that we're done yet by any stretch, but it's worth mentioning at this point that the sound at the Princess Theatre is exceptional. You can clearly hear all separate instruments and vocals.

Plini later confessed to paying extra at a Soundwave festival gig in Sydney for a VIP meet'n'greet pack a few years back so he could meet the Protest the Hero folks and co-opt them into future shenanigans – to wit the 2023 tour.

Plini himself opened with a seamless trilogy of The Glass Bead Game, Papelillo and I'll tell you some day and it was if time was slowly standing still whilst trying to break free.

As the magick unfurls Plini jokes with the audience and introduces the band. The bass player is in a field of his own when he takes a solo, it's like he's not coming back. When Dave McCain (keyboard player from the UK) takes his solo he was head and shoulders the best musician on tonight's program. As Prince would say “people, this is real music played by real people.”

Plini is fully aware of his gifts and while having a strong sense of self and self-awareness there is no part of him blinded by ego or pride. He laughs easily, makes jokes and self-deprecates like Dolly Parton and Brian Johnston. This really connects him to his audience. Its sort of like one of your best friends who is a genius musician but has not forgotten your name or where they come from.

Plini rips through twelve tracks and its like he is building a wormhole to take us all to his very own universe. He is THAT GOOD.

Before we know it, however, he is gone, but returns to play Pan and Electric Sunrise as encores. He thanks the spellbound audience many-fold and disappears into the mist. Thankyou Plini.

- Donald Gunn.


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