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Propagandhi / Random Hand / Cop Out

Propagandhi / Random Hand / Cop Out: live in Sheffieldlive in Sheffield (2009)
Smallman Records

Reviewer Rating: 3


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

It started wonderfully, but ended in disaster. Two fire engines, dozens of policemen and women -- and an angry, dissatisfied mob of youths. It was an overwhelmingly bizarre evening, and indeed, seeing Propagandhi in a place like the '02' Academy is itself a bit of a brain pickler -- a bit like, say,.


It started wonderfully, but ended in disaster. Two fire engines, dozens of policemen and women -- and an angry, dissatisfied mob of youths. It was an overwhelmingly bizarre evening, and indeed, seeing Propagandhi in a place like the '02' Academy is itself a bit of a brain pickler -- a bit like, say, seeing a giraffe wondering around the depths of a frozen Antarctic. Infostalls distributing booklets such as 'An introduction to Kropotkin' juxtaposed with corporate advertisements; anarcho punx constrained by a stage barrier; uniformed security guards in 'high-vis' jackets and adorning headsets patrolling with a keen eye for 'rule-breakers' -- it was all as ironic as a squatted Mayfair property.

Sadly, the formal and rigidly corporate nature of the venue was to be the eventual downfall of the show. But not before local scallies Cop Out got the chance to defile the stage with their debaucherous presence. In fact, it's quite amazing the band manage to fulfill their 20-minute time slot given the inebriated state of the drummer. Nevertheless, they prove to be fun whilst completely shambolic, their comedic in-between song banter pulling them through what is an otherwise generic and musically lacklustre performance.

Tour support Random Hand swaggered on, in contrast, like true professionals. Committing punk rock blasphemy in the form of a clearly audible occasional backing track, they sound at times like King Prawn, other times like the Long Beach Dub-Allstars, occasionally morphing into more metallically inflected tones before diving head over heels into a sea of macho rap-rock complete with a trumpet. Ultimately, despite boundless energy, they came off as a musical manifestation of the proverb "too many cooks spoil the soup."

Months of anticipation reached boiling point in the moments prior to Propagandhi's arrival; and when it comes, no one is let down. A surreal introduction/chant of "come, come, come to the sabbat, come to the sabbat, satan's there" was led by cape-wearing, flute-wielding former Black Widow frontman Clive Jones, while security guards, hipsters and people yet to hear Supporting Caste looked on in utter bemusement. Before they had the chance to close their mouths, though, Propagandhi blasted into a blazing rendition of the latest album's title track ("Supporting Caste"), followed by "Tertium Non Datur" and "The Bangers Embrace." Sounding fresh from intensive practise and recent touring, the 'Gandhi were (almost literally) on fire -- coherent, focused, full of energy.

Really getting into their groove by "The Bringer of Greater Things," bassist Todd Kowalski bounced around like a thrashing pixie on the left-hand side of the stage, occasionally victoriously raising his fist and gritting his teeth whilst making eye contact with the audience. "Dear Coach's Corner" got a rapturous reception (Hannah's guitar work on the intro is really a sight to see in a live setting), while drummer Jord Samolesky called out "free Palestine, Iraq and Afghanistan" before the band tore into the rousing "Haille Sallasse, Up Your Ass." It was during the latter of this song that things started to go pear-shaped -- smoke leaked from a 'dimmer rack' stage-left and while a beautiful chorus of "Fuck Religion" bounced from the walls, a stage assistant could be seen brandishing a fire extinguisher. Hannah made a quip about the tragic fire involving the band Great White, commenting "plan your escape now" before blasting in to "Back to the Motor League," resulting in the eruption of sheer frenzy. About 40 seconds in, though, Samolesky just stopped drumming. Hannah spun 'round, confused, while it was announced that they had to stop playing due to what was presumed to be a 'fire' of sorts. A cacophony of boos greeted the news that an evacuation was necessary -- due to stringent health and safety regulations -- and the crowd was thus forced outside; instead of screaming along to Propagandhi songs, they now bellowed chants such as "we want in" and "put the fire fucking out."

The police arrived, and behaving like clones of Judge Dredd waded into the crowd -- provoking a torrent of insults and almost inciting a riot by huckling one youngster down the stairs. It started to get messy as testosterone-fueled confrontations bubbled up right, left and centre between crowd and authorities; when we were told the gig had been canceled, an immediate feeling of intense devastation was overpowered by a genuine fear of violence; it was then remembered, however, that this is England -- not France. Instead of smashing police cars and storming the venue, we decamped to a nearby pub to contemplate our woe -- and rather than witnessing the performance of anthems such as "Purina Hall of Fame," were greeted by overweight middle-aged women singing Robbie Williams on a karaoke machine. It was all a bit much, and the wounds were deep (a 660-mile round-trip, the expense of a hotel) and about to get deeper.

Taking a detour past the venue on the way back to the hotel, it was discovered that its doors had been reopened -- as queues of fashionably dressed men and women lined the entrance -- this despite claims by security and police that it was too unsafe for people to enter only an hour earlier. Suspicions were thus confirmed that far from being a result of any genuine public safety issues, the gig's cancellation was actually motivated by the mechanics of monetary gain. Rather than allowing the gig to run over into the timeslot allocated to the after-show club night, someone at the venue decided that the gig be canceled. Easier to put out hundreds of gig-goers who have already spent their money than hundreds of club-goers who have yet to spent theirs, the final brutal irony being that in choosing a corporate venue like the Academy to play, Propagandhi and their fans unwittingly fell victim to corporatism -- bureaucracy, the profit motive and rule-crazy authoritarians. A set that begun surreally -- with a satanic chant led by a flute wielding man in a cape -- thus ended similarly, the band departing in the same puff of smoke they had metaphorically arrived in.

Set list:

  1. Come to the Sabbat (chant led by Clive Jones)
  2. Supporting Caste (complete with extended intro)
  3. Tertium Non Datur
  4. A Speculative Fiction
  5. …And We Thought Nation States Were a Bad Idea
  6. Bringer of Greater Things
  7. Dear Coach's Corner
  8. Less Talk, More Rock
  9. Rio De San Atlanta, Manitoba
  10. Haile Sallasse, Up Your Ass
  11. ¼ of Back to the Motor League

 

 
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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.
teaessare (May 1, 2009)

to Eelsupinsideya

i didn't read them. i read the first one in the string of reviews, and none after that because really, it is kind of getting ridiculous how there is one review of their show a week.

also, you suck and you are mean

Eelsupinsideya (May 1, 2009)

How does a show ending early due to no fault of the audience, and everyone who attended not liking the fact that having waited months and spent decent money on a ticket, then become a 'whiney scenster' for not liking what happened? I wasn't there but I would have been fucked right off if I was, and I would have had something to say too. So presumably by this, either you are also a whiney scenster or you went happily on your way that night? Also you say 'some middle class fake punk' or some such shit, how do you know that? Was it your mum?

phish12 (May 1, 2009)

What do English people know about Coach's Corner?

throughsilver (April 30, 2009)

Woefully inaccurate review that besmirched both the English language and the actual events of the evening. I was at this gig. The police were only called because some 'fan' of the band saw fit - in his infinite and enlightened wisdom - to try kicking the door in. I know I'd have called the police if some middle-class fake punk tried doing the same to my front door.

So: gig ends early. That's bad news, as Propagandhi are endlessly brilliant. We get evacuated on account of there's a fire. Some idiot kicks the door, splintering the glass pane. As a result, the police are called, who advise the venue not to let us back in. Cue a set of whiny scenesters acting like it's Guantanamo or Tibet.

Propagandhi would have been ashamed of the audience's behaviour, as I am of this 'writer's account of the evening.

Eelsupinsideya (April 30, 2009)

"too many propagandhi live reviews"
don't read them then, you retard...

teaessare (April 29, 2009)

too many propagandhi live reviews

dev (April 28, 2009)

givemeamuseum:

it is if the headliner is planning on playing 10 more...

BipedCasserole (April 27, 2009)

Probably the best-written review I've ever encountered on this site. No small feat.

Bravo!

thirtyseconds (April 27, 2009)

Very well written review, despite your pain!

It looks like Prop are still playing the same set as they were over a month ago in New York. Still rips though.

givemeamuseumandillfillit (April 27, 2009)

A show that ends after the headliner has played 10 songs is not a cancellation.

Jephso (April 26, 2009)

Would have loved to see this if I were still living in Sheffield, even if they didn't get to finish their set. I agree that the venue was an odd choice for Propagandhi. Great review.

The squat we played in Sheffield was also really memorable but I heard it was shut down.

If you mean the Matilda, yeah, I believe that was shut down by the authorities maybe a year or two ago now.

tombo (April 26, 2009)

more cop out love!

score is for them

breakout (April 26, 2009)

the band tore into the rousing “Haille Sallasse, Up Your Ass.” It was during the latter of this song that things started to go pear-shaped -- smoke leaked from a ‘dimmer rack’ stage-left

Wrath of god?

wearestillalive (April 26, 2009)

Random Hand are so fucking good, kind of binged on them a while ago and saw them too many times in a couple months and got a bit sick of them, but I can't wait till they're playing nearby again.So so so so so good in a small room with a low stage.

Eelsupinsideya (April 26, 2009)

The Bristol show was unreal. Best I've seen them, i'd say. Although I don't think the comment about Random Hand using a backing track is fair - the drummer was producing the extra noise from a sampler/drum machine in front of his toms. I agree they weren't technically 'playing' everything you heard but they were producing the sound. I have no problem with that at all, in fact I quite appreciate the ingenuity. Also it was a trombone, not a trumpet and I have to say, the first time i've actually liked one being used in a punk band. Normally I don't get it, seems utterly pointless but they seemed to get it right...

robbykillsfromdelaware (April 25, 2009)

did you guys read the review? a fire started and the cops showed up and the club stopped the show in favor of a club night....

wallofyouth (April 25, 2009)

yeah, what a short set. i wonder why.

mikeinflames (April 25, 2009)

that seems like a really short set list for prop. anytime i've seen them they've played at least 15-20 songs.
as for the earlier comment about a low rating for the new album. i agree. but for some reason i just keep on listening to it. i do have a soft spot for Dear Coach's Corner because it's so true.

mikexdude (April 25, 2009)

Three stars? Exactly how I'd rate Supporting Caste.

jamesisabear (April 25, 2009)

Really well written. The Norwich gig go cut short because some guy broke both his legs crowd surfing. Whole darn tour is cursed!

gt98kla (April 25, 2009)

Very well written, a nice read. Must have sucked so bad.

damo (April 25, 2009)

i was there too

great review.

GreggArmen (April 25, 2009)

Love Propagandhi. Played several shows with Random Hand while on tour in the UK when I was in Intro5pect. Random Hand are a great band/great guys. It's a shame the show was interrupted. The squat we played in Sheffield was also really memorable but I heard it was shut down.

chewybaws (April 25, 2009)

It wasn't someone at the venue that decided to cancel the gig to keep the club open.

http://www.punktastic.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=36&t=65 469&hilit=propagandhi&sid=6486fe92fe4ad7cbdbddea287006f5da&start= 50 The biggest post on that page is by a user called No Rules, who was the promoter for the Sheffield gig.

Turns out the fire brigade showed up and left and gave the OK for the gig to continue. Venue manager/band/promoter etc were happy for this to go ahead even if it cut into the club time.

But out the front you've got that dickhead bouncer telling everyone to fuck off cause the gig isn't starting again (without knowledge/authority to do so), the police show up, give the venue manager a rollicking for not getting everyone to the designated fire safety point, and they tell everyone the gig's cancelled as well - the venue manager and promoter didn't know until the promoter's girlfriend (who was in the crowd) phoned him up, much to their surprise...

BarleyPat (April 24, 2009)

This is really a top notch review. Score is for both that and Propagandhi. Sorry you had to spend so much to see so little, at least what you saw was great.

I've still never seen them...*sniff*

sanctimonious_sprout (April 24, 2009)

Shit, here's that Bristol score

sanctimonious_sprout (April 24, 2009)

Saw them the night after in Bristol in a random venue in an industrial estate. They said that a blown fuse was the cause of the ridiculous circumstances. Unbelievable. I can only imagine how you guys felt.

The line up the night I saw them was The Arteries/Random Hand/Propagandhi. I love all those bands. Score is for that gig.

lostandclowned (April 24, 2009)

Capitalism will always win. Give up.

INDW (April 24, 2009)

ok various things:

I think you basically sum up the night pretty well; you were most certainly on the correct side of the stage cos I saw nothing before being told to leave! This of course made the reference to white shark a bit confusing

Secondly, the thing which really grated with me right from the second we were thrown out is that the security guards were very open about shutting it for the gig and opening it again for the club night. This was appauling imo. We had already paid, numerous people had come along way - including myself - for that show and basically we should've taken priority.

Thirdly, for those looking for a refund the address is: steve@sheffieldacademy.co.uk Still no sign of mine yet, but that is where you need to go.

Finally, random hand sound exactly the as capdown. exactly the same. no need for any more comparisons than that.

chrisafi (April 24, 2009)

Oh and the encore was:

Come to the Sabbat (with Clive Jones and Flute)
Purina Hall of Fame

No Today's Empire, Tommorow's Ashes though

chrisafi (April 24, 2009)

Thats really harsh.

You should have actually burnt the place down.

Saw this in London (again at an O2 Academy...I don't know why propagandhi were playing perhaps the worst franchise of venues in the UK for their tour) and it was sweet - no fire - full set - truely fantastic.

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