The Barwon Club, Geelong
May 31, 2014
Do you like time machines? I like time machines, but I guess that is irrelevant to this review. It’s been 17 years since Propagandhi last played in Geelong. When I was first told I was surprised because it felt like it was only a couple of years ago. I then looked in the mirror and realised it really was 17 years since last time – and they have released four studio albums in that time, with only one that I have heard/owned. So the fact was I’d more than likely not know 3/4 of their setlist.
After the incidents of their 1997 Geelong show, I was unsure how it would go. I enter the venue to see that the barrier is up again, another hint to how I know it’s not the ’90s. I arrive just as the first band Away From Now is starting, whom was a staple as support on these sorts of tours in the ’00s. I thought they had been broken up all of this decade, and who I had not seen perform since the days of the Arthouse in Melbourne, but apparently this was a once off (they officially called it a day in 2006). It didn’t feel like it, as they powered through their set as tight, if not tighter, than what they were 10 or so years ago.
Next up is Crisis Alert, a band I had no idea about, but there was a recognisable face on stage, fronted by a dude who goes by the nickname of “Footy”. I realised they were from Adelaide (“Footy” runs an excellent record store in Adelaide called Clarity Records), but their sound was welcomed by my ears; a ’80s-styled hardcore/punk band in the Minor Threat, Void, Jerry’s Kids, Negative Approach vein whose intense set felt like they got through around 30 songs. (I actually have no idea how many songs they played, but I liked it.) They finished up and the band room started getting a tiny little more intimate and vocal, which was an indication that Propagandhi’s time to play was near.
Propagandhi arrive on stage and started straight away – fierce, no bullshit, full of energy – which indeed was a hell of a lot different compared to last time. They did not let up. They briefly stopped after a few songs and said a thank you, and were appreciative of the crowd response after every song, and it was noticeable; yet again, highly different to last time. I have no idea of the songs they played, which I knew would happen, and the people I was there with also had gone for pure nostalgic values, but it did not stop the fun.
Propagandhi were what I had hoped for: tight, explosive, unrelenting and not giving a shit. The most well received song of the night goes to ‘Fuck the Border’. Before I know it, the set is over and not one political rant, or any rant. IT was all just pure energy and power that was unrelenting. I am sure glad they came back to Geelong and hope it’s not 17 years between their next visit (which I doubt it will be).
Written by Lucas Barnes