Live In Vancouver (02/06/16)
The Rickshaw Theatre - Vancouver, BC
There are some bands you just need to see when they pass through town. Bands that tour so infrequently and have such a reverent fan base, that when they finally decide to stop by your hometown, you just go see them. There’s no other option.
Winnipeg’s Propagandhi are one such band.
It’s been thirty years since guitarist Chris Hannah and drummer Jord Samolesk teamed up together in the little town of Portage la Prairie, Manitoba to create politically minded punk rock. Despite their ever constant presence in the Canadian and global punk scene, it’s been almost two decades since they’ve stopped in British Columbia. With such a long absence, it came as no surprised that both Vancouver shows at the Rickshaw Theatre were sold out, as punks – old and new but mostly old – filled the floor, the seats and the rafters with eager anticipation.
After solid opening sets from Vancouver’s Slip Ons and Albany, NY’s After The Fall (who played all of last year’s Dedication in honor of their founding member Brian Peters who passed away in late 2013), the crowd was ready and roaring to go.
With no pomp or bravado, the fearsome four piece took the stage. Bassist Todd Kowalski, sporting some dashing basketball shorts and fist pumps galore, energized the crowd before they even began – and once the opening notes to Night Letters ripped through the speaker, there was no stopping anyone.
The crowd was a frenzy of chaotic action. The band jumped, and pumped, and shredded like never before. And the sound, something The Rickshaw Theatre occasionally has problems with, was perfect. It was clean and raw, showcasing the band’s spectacular musicianship the way it deserves to be.
Newcomer Sulynn Hago held her own, adding in backup vocals and even the occasional in-between song banter, while shredding through song after song after song. They jumped throughout their entire discography, playing the must have hits like Dear Coaches Corner, Supporting Caste, Failed States and Cognitive Suicide, but also some rarer cuts as a special treat for those dedicated fans who went both nights. I only went on Saturday and was treated to The Banger’s Embrace, Fuck The Border, Haillie Sellasse Up Your Ass and the rare Purina Hall of Fame. For their encore they even brought out members from The Rebel Spell to do a cover of I Am A Rifle! in memory of the late Todd Rebel.
This is a band that knows how to play a set. They may not tour as frequently as they once did, but this isn’t a gimmicky reunion tour. Propagandhi still command the full attention of the crowd, they shred non-stop and watching them on Saturday you knew why they weren’t just an important Canadian punk band, but an important punk band – no classifiers needed.