By Graeme Wiggins
November 9th, 2017
VANCOUVER – Before playing “Anti-Manifesto” off of their debut album How to Clean Everything to close out the encore and night, singer Chris Hannah mentioned that they first played Vancouver in around 1994 (with Vancouver punk legends Submission Hold). It was a fitting way to end the show in that it reminded those who had been there how much Propagandhi has changed since then.
Gone are the extended between song banter/snark and politically charged song explanations (though bassist Todd Kowalski had a nice heartfelt moment where he asked the audience to not ignore the drug problem right outside and see those suffering as people). Gone is the in-your-face, DGAF attitude. While some of that might be missed, it’s been replaced with stronger (though maybe less funny) songs, and much better chops. They’ve traded their punk sneer for metal snarl and are much better for it.
From opener “Failed Imagineer” off their latest album Victory Lap, they came to shred. New guitarist Sulynn Hago was notably impressive, shredding through classics like “Dear Coach’s Corner” and “Back to the Motor League.” The set focussed on newer material with “Anti-Manifesto” being the only song from their debut and only “And We Thought Nation States Were a Bad Idea” from Less Talk, More Rock.
While it would have been nice to hear a few older songs, ultimately focusing on their more recent material allowed the band to showcase their skills, and keep their set more tonally consistent. It’s a challenge to make a new set that doesn’t put off at least some of the old-school fans, but when the songs are this good, and the band this tight, I doubt there was anyone disappointed.Propaghandi, Rickshaw Theatre