Vancouver is enveloped in multiple shit-storms of moderate social unrest right now with Olympic controversies, vicious H1N1 hysteria and general economic disarray surrounding us. What better time for Winnipeg’s favourite radical sons to swoop in, sell out the Rickshaw and fan the flames a little? Even with a legion of anxious/drunk/ravenous punks hovering at the edge of the stage, hungry for Propagandhi’s trademark anti-authoritarian anthems, the Prairie punk legends insisted on a quick tutorial on the terrors of the forest industry before playing, courtesy of a mouthy hippie named Josh from the Rain Forest Action Network. He quickly lectured the crowd on the rape and pillage of Canada’s old growth forests, persuaded everyone in attendance to record a unison “fuck no” message to premier Gordon Campbell, and then, finally, it was on.
Under a massive banner displaying the cover art for their new album Supporting Caste, the band gave the raucous Tuesday night crowd every penny of their money’s worth. Playing songs from the majority of their albums, but drawing heavily on the new album and the classic Less Talk, More Rock, Propagandhi performed with the total political devotion, boundless energy and humour that they’re known for the world over. The Beave (bearded guitarist Dave Guillios), vocalist/guitarist Chris Hannah, bassist Todd Kowalski and drummer Jordan Samoleski issued attack after attack of heavily distorted melodies, propelling the crowd into a seething mess of well executed stage diving and shouting along.
Between songs, members of the band took the opportunity to riff on current affairs and encourage participation in local politics. Particularly poignant was Samoleski’s overt praise of local civil rights advocates like the Pivot Legal Society. Belligerent howls of “who cares” sometimes ensued from these bits of moral oratory, but for the most part, they got cheers of unhinged approval from the centre of the mosh pit to the back of the balcony. “I like your spirit,” said a sweat-drenched Hannah midway through the set. “You’re way better than Regina.”
[ed. For more on Propaghandi check out the interview Jordan Samoleski did with us here]