Much like "The Banger’s Embrace," my crew set out from Omaha, Nebraska on a six-hour journey to the great state of Minnesota to check out the first date of the Freedom From Oil -- Tar Sands Resistance Tour. This would be my second experience in the land of 1000 lakes, the first being with Lagwagon, the Lawrence Arms and A Wilhelm Scream a few years back. However, this was my first time at the famed Triple Rock Social Club. The club was in a pretty seedy neighborhood, but turned out to be a very nice club inside. The setup of the club was pretty cool, with a kind of pit area in front of the stage. When you walked in, you could immediately see a huge banner on the back wall featuring the album artwork of Supporting Caste. They also had some other pictures from the CD booklet hung up around the club as well as banners for Honor the Earth and some other organizations. It was an early show, 5 p.m., which was fine by me, since we had another six-hour drive home. It was also all ages, which I thought was a good choice because there ended up being a lot of people there.
Hometown heroes Banner Pilot were first up. I had only heard a few songs from these guys when I checked them out once it was announced they were on Fat. Although they seemed to have a poppier style than the other acts, I thought it was a great set, and most of the crowd seemed to enjoy it. I was especially impressed with the bass player; he seemed to have a lot of talent. The vocals left a little to be desired; however, that could have had a little to do with the sound system, which was all over the place in terms of balance throughout the night.
Next up was Richmond’s Strike Anywhere. This was just a great set. The band, about to celebrate their 10-year anniversary, was spot on. Thomas was great as always, holding the mic out to the crowd for the gang vocal parts. They played a great mix of songs as well, including a song from their forthcoming record, which sounded very promising. The sound mix for these guys was just about perfect. To add to that, they all played extremely well. I really enjoyed the set, and the crowd was a good crowd, immediately picking up anyone who had fallen, and really no jerks that I was aware of. It made for a great show. Songs included "Refusal," "Allies," "Chorus of One," "Infrared," "We Amplify," "Instinct," and they closed it up with "Sunset on 32nd." Awesome!
Strike Anywhere finished up, and next was the almighty Propagandhi -- just had to wait for their equipment to be set up. Meanwhile, the club played D4’s newest record on the house sound. Fitting, or just a shameless plug? You be the judge. Anyway, we’re waiting for Propagandhi. And waiting. And waiting? Well, the whole D4 record played. We thought for sure then Propagandhi will start. Then they put on some Fugazi, and probably about three songs of that played. What is the point of all the waiting? This was a real downer, waiting over 45 minutes between sets. It was very hot in the venue. Finally, the house sound shut off! But wait, here comes a rep from Honor the Earth, to talk about the Tar Sands Resistance. This is great, but couldn’t he have been talking during the 45 minutes we were waiting in the first place? I understand the message in the music, but you have all these pumped kids waiting so long while NOTHING is happening on stage and then finally when they can’t wait any longer you send out someone to talk for five more minutes. I probably would have cared more about what he had to say if they had done it a lot earlier. This was the only downer of the night, really.
Finally, the Canadians walked out onto stage. Chris Hannah has a sweet pickguard that features an image of Jesus. That was pretty hilarious. They started off right away with “Supporting Caste” and it pretty much didn’t stop from there. They played a lot of great songs from the new album, including "The Banger’s Embrace," "Human(e) Meat" and "Tertium Non Datur." What surprised me was what they included from older albums; they ended up playing "Haillie Sellasse Up Your Ass" from How to Clean Everything; we ended up getting "Less Talk More Rock," "Nation States" and "The Only Good Facist Is a Very Dead Facist" from Less Talk More Rock; and "Mate Ka Moris Ukun Rasik An" and "Back to the Motor League" off Today’s Empires Tomorrow's Ashes. A good selection from Potemkin City Limits included "Speculative Fiction" and "Bringer of Greater Things." All the way through, the band played very well. However, sometimes the leads were very hard to hear, which made some of the solos less exciting. I think this was just a sound issue in the club. They finally closed with "Last Will and Testament," and it was awesome. They, of course, made us stroke their huge egos by calling for an encore in which they played "Dear Coach’s Corner" and finished it all off with "Anti Manifesto." If I could have asked for anything, it would have been for a few songs from Jord, since I don't believe they played one of the songs he does full on vocals for.
All in all, it was a great show and should be an awesome tour. I definitely recommend checking this tour out, and I think most of the issues I had with this stop had to do with it being the first date on the tour. Cheers!