Propagandhi a rarity. Few bands put together concerts that deserve the label “event” anymore. With a gluttony of festivals, reunions and album shows, it’s rare that a band just comes out and plays a killer set to a legion of anxious fans. Propagandhi has that formula down pat.
The Canadian quartet’s shows are events – each and every time they play. That was no more evident than at Summit Music Hall on October 22. Our friends from Manitoba made a stop in the Rockies with former locals Elway and near locals Teenage Bottlerocket to blow our collective socks, shoes and pants off.
Sporting a Colin Kaepernick hockey jersey, vocalist and guitarist Chris Hannah led off the set asking (rhetorically), “how’s your election going?” before the band launched into the seminal “Fuck the Border” off Today’s Empires, Tomorrow’s Ashes.
With the Summit being as crowded as it was, finding a decent spot with views of the stage proved a challenge. I chose a place under the balcony stairs stage right, which provided a centered view of touring guitarist Sulynn Hago. I had no doubt the petite Floridian could shred – that’s kind of a must if you’re going to keep up on tracks like “Dear Coach’s Corner” and “A Speculative Fiction”. Who knew she would make it look so effortless.
Holding a guitar that looked to be the same size as her, Hago knocked out favorites “Night Letters”, “Less Talk, More Rock”, and belted the battle cry on “Back to the Motor League”.
Where Hannah and Hago provided the acoustic aesthetics, bassist Todd Kowalski was the cheerleader. Pumping his fist and shouting lyrics at the sing-a-long crowd he showed (as always) that he was just as amped to be there as those in attendance.
The phenomenal set concluded with the song that, for many of us, served as our first encounter with Propagandhi: “Anti-Manifesto”. As the lights came on and the adrenaline came down, that depressing feeling of conclusion came over me … until the next event.
* all photos by Jackie Wilding