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Propagandhi / Paint It Black

Propagandhi / Paint It Black: live in Philadelphialive in Philadelphia (2009)
Smallman Records

Reviewer Rating: 3.5


Contributed by: JeloneJelone
(others by this writer | submit your own)

The Beatles. The Ramones. Minor Threat. These are bands I will never see live. They all broke up a long time ago, and some of their key members are even deceased. Until this past weekend, there was another band on my woulda-coulda-but-won't-see wish list that was actually still together, Propagandhi.


The Beatles. The Ramones. Minor Threat. These are bands I will never see live. They all broke up a long time ago, and some of their key members are even deceased. Until this past weekend, there was another band on my woulda-coulda-but-won't-see wish list that was actually still together, Propagandhi. Propagandhi spent the last 150 years (well, it's actually like eight‚?¶) shunning the United States, but with a new record (the OK comeback Supporting Caste), I suppose those crazy Canadians decided to conquer the States one more time. The result: a tight hardcore bill at the Trocadero featuring Philly locals Witch Hunt and Paint It Black that pretty much rocked my face from start to finish on March 14.

2009 has been a somewhat unexciting year for music so far; I haven't been this apathetic about punk rock since high school. Up-and-comers Witch Hunt completely changed my mind, though. This co-ed quartet ripped through a tasty 30-minute set of blistering punk/hardcore in the vein of Choking Victim, Black Flag and Melvins. Oscillating from black thrash to street punk, Witch Hunt won me over with their eclectic chaos and passion. All three bands talked about scene unity that night, but Witch Hunt frontwoman Janine was the only one to take it a little further. She introduced the song "Slow Decay" with an entreaty for more open discussion about depression and addiction. Listing the pros to both therapy and simply talking to your friends, her anti-suicide/anti-abuse speech scored a round of applause from the crowd. As for the songs, they ripped and rocked. With a new record on the horizon, Witch Hunt is a crust punk band to watch in '09.

Witch Hunt was my pleasant surprise of the night; Paint It Black was my old reliable friend. I've never seen them put on a bad show, and they came through yet again, although sound issues early in the set left the band sounding a little hollow. Paint It Black deals in short, fast hardcore hits, and the boon of writing 90-second songs meant that the band drew from all three of their albums well. New Lexicon shone through, with highlights including "The Ledge," "Missionary Position," and "Shell Game Redux." Bassist Andy Nelson was quick with the quips while gangly yet muscled frontman Dr. Dan Yemin awkwardly tore about, frequently leaving the stage to share his mic with the crowd. It didn't always work -- The Troc was too big for the mic-less gang vox renditions of set-enders "Atticus Finch" and "Memorial Day" to be heard past the first few rows of bodies, making the band's finale somewhat anti-climactic. But for the most part, Paint It Black kicked rump. They even debuted a new song from the band's upcoming seven-inch. It still sounds like Paint It Black (sorry, Kid Dynamite fans), although it's much slower and more controlled. You feel it every time drummer Jared Shavelson hits his kit. Think of the second half of Black Flag's My War.

Then came Propagandhi.

Anticipation was heavy; there was a huge forward surge of bodies as soon as the lights cut out. One brave kid jumped from the Troc's balcony to the stage. The band plugged in and kicked off a string of Supporting Caste cuts and‚?¶proceeded to suck. Now, I've seen opening acts outperform headliners, but March 14 marks the first time I ever felt like the sound guy was deliberately favoring the opener over the main attraction. Witch Hunt's sound was flawless and Paint It Black took a few seconds to congeal, but Propagandhi's first few songs were all bass-'n-drums, burying all of those nifty guitar tricks from the band's pseudo-recent metal direction. Whoever was manning the boards eventually got his and/or her shit together, but for those first few minutes were scary. Despite this little stumble -- which didn't seem to bother those in the pit, anyway -- Propagandhi took off. Supporting Caste sounded pretty good live, especially cuts like "The Banger's Embrace" and "Dear Coach's Corner." Drummer Jord Samolesky introduced the latter with a discussion about hockey, discussing how he put a curse on New York Rangers fans at the band's previous show for being dicks. Lo and behold, my town's very own Philadelphia Flyers trumped the Rangers 4-2 earlier that day. That, in turn, segued into a conversation about how, back in 2008, Republican Vice Presidential failure Sarah Palin visited a Flyers game on the campaign trail. The crowd was obviously booing, though close camera shots and some audio edits attempted to convince viewers at home otherwise.

Clearly, the guys had a lot to talk about since their last Philly visit.

The set list attempted to blend in aspects of each of the band's albums -- "A Speculative Fiction" from Potemkin City Limits, "Hallie Sallasse, Up Your Ass" and "Anti-Manifesto" from How to Clean Everything, and "‚?¶And We Thought Nation States Were a Bad Idea" and "Apparently I'm A P.C. Facist" from Less Talk, More Rock all went over well. Today's Empires, Tomorrow Ashes seemed to get the biggest reaction, with the crowd lapping up "Fuck the Border," featuring Dan Yemin, and "Back to the Motor League." Bassist Todd Kowalski teased the audience with references to "Come to the Sabbat," the ridiculously awesome hidden track from Supporting Caste. While the band didn't play nearly enough of the songs I wanted to hear -- how could they? -- I still felt generally stoked to have witnessed this rare show, regardless of the sound issues and thoroughly stinky fans. After a quick encore, the band asked concertgoers to check out some of the political literature they brought along, as well PETA's booth (man, those folks really hate Kentucky Fried Cruelty, eh?).

With G7 gone, I hope Propagandhi can dig deep and hit up Pennsylvania a few more times. Don't take this the wrong way, but I really, really want to meet Hannah in a VFW hall and have him scream, "My brown power ass in your white power face," you know, in my face.

 

 
People who liked this also liked:
NOFX - The DeclineThe Lawrence Arms - The Greatest Story Ever ToldStrike Anywhere - Exit EnglishStrike Anywhere - Change Is A SoundPropagandhi - Today's Empires, Tomorrow's AshesAgainst Me! - is Reinventing Axl RoseThe Clash - London CallingRefused - The Shape of Punk to ComeJawbreaker - 24 Hour Revenge TherapyBruce Springsteen - Nebraska

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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
xIxKilledxJesusx (March 23, 2009)

"I'm a fond abuser of prefixes like pseudo, quasi, and faux. I draw the line at "pseudo-recent". Something either is recent or not. You can be hazy on the time, but you can't have a fake likeness of recent.......cy."

technically thats wrong in some situations according to the special theory of relativity

xIxKilledxJesusx (March 23, 2009)

they didnt shun the whole US for 8 years, i saw them in Anaheim in 2005

this show would be so much better if either: PIB wasnt there or they only played stuff off of paradise

Windfall (March 22, 2009)

Great show, but I showed up after Witch Hunt finished because they suck.

mattp330 (March 22, 2009)

wait, jelone isn't a woman?? i think i always just read it and associated it with jolene

givemenewwave (March 22, 2009)

The score is for the level of douchery in the crowd at this show. It seemed like the first four rows of people just showed up after the Erin Express.

martinNZ09 (March 21, 2009)

That sucks about the sound. At their recent New Zealand show I was really impressed with the sound of Propagandhi. It was obvious they had brought their own sound guy with them and it really showed

damo (March 21, 2009)

"Listing the pros to both therapy and simply talking to your friends, her anti-suicide/anti-abuse speech scored a round of applause from the crowd"

thank fuck i wasn't there

Rastid (March 21, 2009)

witch hunt has been around for years. since... 2001 according to wiki. sweet band, though

Blackjaw_x (March 20, 2009)

Score is for Paint It Black.

(Half a star, if it won't show up...)

chipsahoycookie (March 20, 2009)

Punknews won't post this for some reason. People in Tucson: http://www.hotelcongress.com/2009/03/14/punk-rock-happy-hour-free /

SydBarrett420 (March 20, 2009)

Are we going to get a tour review EVERY Tuesday and Friday for Propaghandi? Okay we get it, you guys like them, but jesus give it a rest already

wyzo (March 20, 2009)

I'm a fond abuser of prefixes like pseudo, quasi, and faux. I draw the line at "pseudo-recent". Something either is recent or not. You can be hazy on the time, but you can't have a fake likeness of recent.......cy.

And given propagandhi's normal turnaround time for new albums prior to supporting caste, supporting caste was put out downright fast, so seems ill suited to be called a comeback album.

Nitpicking aside, the review was doable.

mynameisbud (March 20, 2009)

the state lottery goes on that list too

Torgo (March 20, 2009)

I totally thought Jelone was a female until I went to his blog. Just sayin', thought Jelone was a female first name.

sumwon (March 20, 2009)

Anti-Manifesto
Stick the Fucking Flag
Haille Sellaise
Less Talk, More Rock
Nation States
Refusing to be a Man
Today's Empires
Back to the Motor League
Purina Hall of Fame
A Speculative Fiction
Bringer of Greater Things
America's Army
Iteration
Night Letters
Tertium Non Datur
Dear Coach's Corner

Are we all in agreeance that these are Propagandhi's best songs?

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