Having been roughly six years since the last time Propagandhi played in Denver, and more than 10 years since the infamous VFW hall incident, it’s no surprise that this show was sold out. Outside the venue people pleaded for tickets, some reminisced about their arrest at the VFW hall show, and local author / activist / Colorado University professor Ward Churchill showed up.
The Marquis itself is one of the better venues in Denver for smaller shows, with a modest wooden floor space, no stage barriers and a four-foot stage roughly the size of an average person’s bedroom set in the corner of the room.
I caught the tail end of GFK’s very metalcore set, which despite what little patience I had that night for opening bands, was enjoyable. They were very energetic and seemed to be enjoying themselves. The singer shouted over fast guitars and double-bass, the set rarely, if ever, deviating from that formula. Fortunately the band didn’t slip into any breakdowns or clean-sung choruses, something a lot of bands playing this style of music tend to do. Todd the Rodd was in the crowd banging his head for almost the entire set.
Hiretsukan played next in what was an awkward set that seemed cut very short. I assumed by the vocalist’s pained expressions and excessive water drinking that she was sick. They played short and fast songs with a post-hardcore vibe to them. The female vocalist has a high, piercing scream and gave explanations of some of the songs. I was interested in her song explanations and their political/social nature; however, the majority of the audience just talked over her loudly. They finished their short set and the Propagandhi chants started.
After what was quite a long wait (too long for a punk band, the guy next to me kept shouting) Propagandhi took the stage and tore into the first two tracks off Potemkin City Limits. The crowd was crazy throughout the entire set with numerous stage dives and crowd surfing. Hannah pulled off the vocalist / lead guitar duties flawlessly (even when nearly knocked over by a crowd surfer or sharing his mic with a fan who obviously didn’t know the lyrics). The Rodd was a machine, moving and thrashing all around the stage. Jord spoke occasionally between songs and the Beave said nothing. In fact, he appeared to have the same expression on his face the entire set. At least two songs or more from every release were played, the emphasis of it on Potemkin and Today’s Empires, Tomorrow's Ashes material.
The band did very little speaking in between songs, outside of taking shots at MxPx and making various political or social comments. Nothing came off preachy and Hannah and Todd were both very funny and entertaining to watch. After a good hour or so they left the stage and quickly returned to finish off with a three-song encore. They thanked everyone, told us to get off MySpace, read books, and go and do something positive that you believe in.
This tour may be over with by the time this review gets published but I highly recommend seeing Propagandhi if you haven’t yet. Good energy and a positive band sticking to their political guns more than most that I can think of. And who knows, it could be another few years before they tour again.
Set list (in order of songs played, as best as I can remember):
- A Speculative Fiction
- Fixed Frequencies
- Fuck the Border
- Rock for Sustainable Capitalism
- Less Talk, More Rock
- And We Thought That Nation States…
- Bringer of Greater Things
- Mate Ka Moris Ukun Rasik An
- Stick the Fucking Flag…
- The Only Good Fascist…
- Rio de San Atlanta, Manitoba
- Back to the Motor League
- Haillee Sallasse, Up Your Ass
- Today’s Empires, Tomorrow’s Ashes
- Life at Disconnect
- A People’s History of the World
- Purina Hall of Fame
- Die Jugend Marschiet
- With Friends Like These…
- Superbowl Patriot XXXVI