For a band as modern as Protest the Hero, there’s something delightfully old fashioned about their new concert film, Kezia X Live: you can actually see it. Documenting a trio of 2015 performances celebrating the tenth anniversary of their debut full-length, Kezia, the 54-minute movie utilizes the now de rigeur apoplectic editing and convulsive filming style of modern videos sparingly, and only when the energy of the on-screen performance justifies it. It does what concert films really should do, but achieve with increasing rarity: it allows the viewer the right mix of vicarious thrill of being at the performance and the chance to see what the show might be like if the viewer wasn’t being jostled in the pit.
This is especially impressive because Kezia X Live incorporates footage from all three concerts. I don’t mean from song to song, like “Bury the Hatchet” is from one show and “Nautical” is from another; I mean it cuts between footage from all the shows within a single track. But even with the inclusion of a speech from frontman Rody Walker pointing a flaw in the filmmakers’ continuity plans (the band was instructed to wear the same clothes for each concert… but one of those concerts took place at a different venue from the other two), the constant switching around is fairly seamless, with a removed or repositioned article of clothing usually the giveaway. Kezia X Live is the opposite of Nine Inch Nails’ And All That Could Have Been (2002), which similarly pulled footage and audio from multiple shows, but ultimately felt like a violent collage of footage, and not one fluid experience. There’s no issue here.
Of course, the intercutting means that you’re sometimes listening to one show while watching a piece of another. That might irritate purists who just wanna dork out over the band’s inarguably awesome musicianship. As an experience, though, it is, again, a seamless one. And the band, to the surprise of no one, sounds fantastic.
Interspersed throughout the live footage are interviews with members of the band about their memories of making and touring behind Kezia and the challenges of re-learning material they haven’t played in years, amongst other topics. The interviews sometimes take on a wistful tone — this was the last time this version of the band would ever play Kezia before drummer Moe Carlson and bassist Arif Mirabdolbaghi left the group — but they’re never bogged down in unearned sentimentality. They’re also nicely balanced by interviews with a number of fans and, perhaps most entertaingly, David Millar, father of guitarist Tim Millar, who commends the members of Protest the Hero as “good boys.” Awwww.
Protest the Hero are asking all of ten bucks for digital downloads of Kezia X Livehere. Fans would be foolish to pass it up. You can watch a trailer below, and purchase it .