One thing you get used to living in New Zealand is the constant disappointment of amazing bands touring Australia and not jumping the ditch to our little corner of the world. Some of the more heartbreaking tours that have visited Australia and not made the jump include the Gaslight Anthem, the Lawrence Arms, Saves the Day, Alkaline Trio, Face to Face...you get the idea. Of course, there are some bands that take the plunge and head across for a few dates in New Zealand and on most occasions they are pleasantly surprised by the overexcited and under-stimulated Kiwi crowds.
One such band that skipped New Zealand in the past is Canada's finest export, Propagandhi. Now, 11 years later they have returned to the southern hemisphere to right past wrongs and play two highly anticipated shows.
The first stop on their New Zealand leg was a Wednesday night show in Wellington. As I was not witness to this show I cannot give you a first-hand account; however, from the reviews I heard about the performance I was a little more than excited for the Thursday night show I was attending at The Studio in Auckland.
After arriving at the venue around 9 p.m. my friends and I found a spot at the back of the venue to watch the single opening act, Full Nelson. These guys have been around for a few years now and although I wouldn't say they are the most prolific on the live show circuit, they do score a number of pretty decent opening slots with their fast, melodic hardcore style. After ripping through 8-10 solid tracks, Full Nelson said their goodbyes and it was time for Propagandhi to take the stage.
As Hannah and co. took the stage it was a moment that I had been waiting for for over a decade. With little-to-no introduction they launched into "Die Jugend Marschiert." The sound hit instantly and not only were the benefits of having their own sound engineer immediately clear, but their musical prowess shone through. All four members were ridiculously tight with their playing and Hannah's ability to sing and play leads was a little more than impressive.
After one hell of an opening they just got better and better. The set list included tracks spanning their career and as far as my memory serves me the following were included (in no particular order):
- Die Jugend Marschiert (America's Army)
- Tertium Non Datur
- Supporting Caste
- A Speculative Fiction
- And We Thought Nation States Were a Bad Idea...
- Bringer of Greater Things
- Rock for Sustainable Capitalism
- Less Talk, More Rock
- Stick the Fucking Flag...
- Heillie Sallasse, Up Your Ass
- Refusing to Be a Man
- Back to the Motor League
- Human(e) Meat
- Dear Coaches Corner
- Fuck the Border
- Speculative Fiction
- Today's Empires, Tomorrow's Ashes
- Anti-Manifesto **Encore**:
- Last Will and Testament
- Purina Hall of Fame
One thing I had heard about Propagandhi was that they could be a little preachy between songs, but this was not really the case. They joked about going to see some New Zealand mountains, talked about Fat Mike's mansion and how they paid for the security system on it (this was right before launching into "Rock for Sustainable Capitalism") and introduced one of the songs as being about killing stupid meat-eaters, but even this was less preaching than I expected.
As I headed out the door after what I can only describe as one of the best live performances I have ever been witness to, I hoped that when Chris Hannah said "we will be back" he was not just paying lip service.