Propagandhi / GFK Fun Haus, Toronto ON - October 25

Propagandhi / GFK Fun Haus, Toronto ON - October 25
Photo: Paul Galipeau
The long line-up that awaited the eager, tour-starved Propagandhi fans resulted in most missing the set by openers Attack in Black, which is a shame given the band’s live power and impressive streak of shows as of late. Quebecois metal act GFK performed competently but some curious work by the rhythm section held back their abrasive, technically complex metal from achieving its intended impact. Some interesting guitar heroics and barked vocals, complete with impressive-sounding introductions to each song’s subject matter, earned the band the crowd’s respect, but their occasional sloppiness held back their message. Local conscious hip-hop act Dope Poets Society were scheduled to perform but were replaced by two separate acts: a solo MC whose main interest seemed to be a juvenile call-and-response of "Fuck war!” with the crowd and a trio performing the most asinine of rhythms ever spouted on stage. The audience, who hopefully would have been open-minded enough to enjoy a quality hip-hop act, turned immediately and the resulting heckling and booing led to some of the finest on-stage shit talking of the night, as the crowd were decried as "punk rock elitists” and told, "If you’ve got issues, we’ve got tissues,” which was arguably the most competent rhyme the trio delivered. Finally, after five years of silence, it was Propagandhi’s turn. Having recently added a second guitarist to their live line-up, the wall of sound they produced was at last able to capture the thickness they produce on record. Opening with "A Speculative Fiction,” the band smashed through a set of mainly material drawn from Today’s Empires, Tomorrow’s Ashes and Potemkin City Limits, although the performance of older material such as "Less Talk, More Rock” and "Haillie Sallse, Up Your Ass” drew enthusiastic responses from the surging crowd. The night’s highlight came during "Bringer of Greater Things,” one of two songs sung by bassist Todd Kowalski; the sheer force of the emotion emanating from the man was enough to send a chill throughout the crowd. Concluding the night with "Purina Hall of Fame,” the band made the long wait between tours worth it, but also made the knowledge that we won’t see them again for another few years that much harsher to take.