The Protomen: Space Avengers From Nashville

Nerdcore. Chiptune. Gamewave. Bands Influenced by Video Games. It’s almost a given that we, as People of the Web, have heard at least one track we can assign to this genre. With MC Fronalot, Anamanaguchi, and Minibosses among the names at its forefront, this movement is a love letter to all things nerdy and wonderful. The Protomen may be lesser-known than some of the aforementioned folks right now, but not for long.

No, not for long.

Panther, the lead vocalist, is joined by a cast of nine, who, in his words, “noticed a void in rock and roll. A hole that could only really be filled with grown men and women painting up like robots and playing some fierce and furious rock music based on a 1980s video game.” Having just released their second album, the Nashville-based, Mega Man-inspired, silver-painted space cowboys [and girls] have been on a national tour since summer, and if you have the chance, you should definitely check ’em out. These guys are young, hilarious, and they’re damn good.

Despite all the tight production and shiny web design, this band is meant to be experienced live. As the countless performance clips on YouTube prove, you can expect some form of a mosh pit, costumes, eager audience participation, theatrics and a whole lot of RAWKK. Also, the odd Journey cover, or better yet, Clap Danzatar, a Pat Benatar and Danzig mash-up which must be heard to be understood. Simply put, if you like things like rock operas, video games, or fun, and can tolerate a little retro-worship, do yourself a favor and get into The Protomen. This fan-made video for Unrest in the House of Light, a track off their first album, is a good place to start.

15 Responses to “The Protomen: Space Avengers From Nashville”

  1. Cjrpos Says:

    They are _unreal_ live.

  2. Abby Says:

    I’ve seen them twice at PAX — the second time they played a symphony hall and, uhm… it was amazing. +10 to Zoe for posting about them.

  3. Zoetica Says:


  4. Zach Says:


    That’s it. They’ve made it. To hell with Penny-Arcade, Coilhouse has noticed them.

    Known these guys for years, grew up with Panther, did their first website, still occasionally moderate their forums, just put the lot of them up in my house this spring.

    A note about seeing them live – depending on how much time they have, they sometimes mash up both Acts (first and second records) and just play a straight out rock show. But, if you can catch them with an extended set, they’ll blow through a whole Act, which includes all of the choreography and costuming.

    They’re doing Act II right now, but when they do CD release shows, they play the previous Acts. So, whenever they release Act III, it’ll be a three part epic rock stage show lasting several hours.

    Awesome, awesome stuff.

  5. Zoetica Says:

    Zach, what a wonderful surprise! This right here is what Coilhouse is all about.

    Just saw them when they passed through LA again [and got rammed into the stage more than a few times by the rabid crowd at the C.I.A.], but my first time? A little room at the now-defunct Knitting Factory in 2006. Actually, the 1st Clap Danzatar link in the post is to a video I took of them performing it to a crowd of maybe 40 back then. Warms me soul-nuts to see them movin’ up in the world. Well-deserved.

    Also I wish I had any reason at all to utter the words “I grew up with Panther”. You win.

  6. Shay Says:

    This is pretty cool, thanks for sharing.

    Frankly, an early obsession with video game music (especially from classics like Star Control II) is probably on ye olde list of things that made me weird.

  7. Dj Dead Billy Says:

    yet no one has mentioned the Megas?? for shame coilhouse commenters. for shame.

  8. Comorbid Says:

    I just found out about them at the beginning of the year. I’d LOVE to see them live. One of those shows I’d travel for.

  9. Tertiary Says:

    You know, it’s a real testament to the MegaMan series that it has served as the inspiration for so much stuff, including the Protomen.

    Fucking cool band.

  10. Tertiary Says:

    Also, I must say, listening to the player on their site, they remind me of how cool The Arcade Fire COULD BE. For reals.

  11. Jessi Says:

    The protomen are SO so SO fantastic. I have yet to see them live but their music just gives me TINGLES CHILLS AND and and man I dont even know what else. But beautiful stuff. I LOOOONG for some karaoke of their music, (or just instrumentals of the songs) is that available anywhere??

  12. Jon Randle Says:

    Took a few listens but now really hooked on the music. Have to agree with Teriary. I’m not a fan of Arcade Fire but they would be great if they had more guts. The Protomen are wicked. Will checkout Megas too. Thank you.

  13. Leetastrophy Says:

    I have been an avid follower of video game scores, game-inspired music, and chip-tunes for a hot minute now, but Protomen just took the proverbial 8bit cake and smashed it into a million pieces of pixelated rock glory right in my awestruck face. Cannibal Corpse and Blind Guardian just got trumped on my list of shows to catch.

  14. Zoetica Says:

    Jessi, holee crap! You’ve just discovered the key to my personal karaoke heaven. Now, how to we get them in the books?!

  15. Leetastrophy Says:

    Halfway through Act II … it’s like Bruce Springstein, The Killers, and Styx (circa Kilroy Was Here) just wrote a three part rock-opera and broadcast it through a time-traveling 1980’s Russian spy satellite running on a Famicom motherboard!