Hey Propagandhi, it’s been awhile.
Last time you were in town, Hurricane Sandy had just ravaged the East Coast (and a member of your tour mates, The Menzingers, had to get home to help out). The USA wasn’t yet in flames or completely underwater or bone dry and increasingly arid. Massive, increasingly important protests and marches weren’t the order of the day yet. Daily assaults on our liberties and freedoms weren’t, well, daily. Sure, it had its issues, but we weren’t even remotely aware of the depths we would soon find ourselves blindly, confusingly, constantly stumbling around in.
Sometime before that show in 2012, I’d become a fan. Supporting Caste was a regular listen, and I admit to enjoying the infinite shreds and mind boggling technical prowess as much as I did the incredible lyrical depth and encyclopedic historical understanding on display. I was, shall we say, politically aware, but nowhere near how exhaustingly aware I find myself these days. I imagine that’s an increasingly normal sentiment shared by a lot of us in the states, in North America as a whole, and likely around the world. Just… exhausted. And aware of exactly why.
Looking back, I’m sure you would say, “Hey, we’ve been this aware for a while now. Welcome to The Now.” And you would be right to do so.
Your latest album, Victory Lap, changes things up a bit while keeping a lot of your most familiar aspects intact. The shreds… oh, the shreds, and there’s a fair bit of excited noodling. The wry, deadpan humor is there. The pace set from the very first track is quintessential Propagandhi, as is the almost subtle because it’s so well-done sense of balance and melody. It’s dynamic and engaging, thrashy without being too abrasive, and clever as hell. It is, if I may say so, a goddamn delight.
Where things go a slightly different direction, though, is where I find myself personally, actually. Trying to figure out where I fit in to the grand scheme of things. Where I, as a white dude in North America, should focus my energy. And not just where, I guess, but how. You do this through storytelling, through the Power of Rock, through challenging your listeners to think about their place in the world and what kind of change they want to see in their lifetime. And like your musicianship both recorded and on stage, it’s effortless. But more than that, it’s sincerely appreciated. It’s needed and it’s important, and I feel like we’re actually lucky to be living in such strange days, because like your music manages to do regularly, we find ourselves challenged to think, to act, to find ways to do and be better. So, thank you for that. Sincerely.
I’m looking forward to your return to the Cincinnati area (by way of Northern Kentucky). You’re going to love the Southgate House Revival. The Sanctuary is a one of kind space where you’ll appreciate the look, sound, and irony of playing in and old church. See you Wednesday, March 7.