Hometown Propagandhi shows sell out within minutes, and after catching last night's (December 9) performance, it's not hard to see why they're in such high demand. The band's discography truly comes to life in the flesh, and after all these years, the band still have more energy than a lot of bands half their age, making for a phenomenal performance.
They came out and launched into "A Speculative Fiction" before continuing onto even more recent material such as "Dear Coach's Corner" and "Failed States," all songs that demonstrate the quartet's metal/thrash tendencies. As the set wore on, Propagandhi busted out some of their older pop-punk tunes such as "Nailing Descartes To The Wall/(Liquid) Meat Is Still Murder" and "Anti-Manifesto," but the newer stuff was more prominent in their set.
While many bands from the '90s focus more on nostalgia, it's refreshing to see Propagandhi moving forward and getting a great crowd response for their newer songs. They even banged out a brand new tune apparently called "Laughing Stock," and it sounded as heavy as ever. Between songs, drummer Jord Samolesky spoke up from behind the kit to say how important it was for Canada to welcome Syrian refugees and expressed opposition to the Enbridge oil pipelines, but his speeches remained short so the band could fit as many songs into their set as possible. Just like the title of their 1996 album, it's true: Propagandhi are predominantly about less talk and more rock.
Last night was also the live debut of Sulynn Hago, who is the brand new touring guitarist they brought in from Florida to replace David "Beaver" Guillas. Hago looked ecstatic to be there and definitely fit in with the band nicely, pulling off their difficult riffs. Still, out of everyone, bassist Todd Kowalski was the real star of the night; it's so much fun watching him jump around the stage, and he plays the role of hype man perfectly. At the very end of their set, Kowalski even took over the mic from lead vocalist/guitarist Chris Hannah for an amazing cover of "Hard Times" by Cro-Mags.
Opening the show was Triggers, a much younger local pop-punk band who should appeal to fans of blink-182 and Living With Lions. The band just released a new EP called Prairie Resilient in September, so it was fitting that they opened with "Sick," a tune that has a cool sounding opening guitar riff. The band also tossed in some cuts from the self-titled EP they released last year and closed with "Onward, Upward," which has a catchy sing-along chorus.
Local punk duo Mobina Galore also scored an opening slot, and while the room was pretty empty for the first song, "Skeletons," it quickly started to fill up as their set progressed. One year ago the band released a full-length record called Cities Away, and that provided the bulk of what they played. They closed with "Bad Love Song," which is one of the catchiest songs on that record and sounds a bit like something the Pack A.D. might write.