Propagandhi rock Melbourne

February 28, 2009

At 10.30pm on February 22, the lights went out at the Corner Hotel in Richmond, Melbourne and a chant rose up. "Come, come, come to the sabbat, come to the sabbat, Satan's there."

While Propagandhi's new album Supporting Caste won't be released until March 10, many fans had already downloaded a version from the internet and knew that Propagandhi had covered "Come to the Sabbat" by Black Widow.

After bass player Todd Kowalski sang along for a few lines it was with bated breath that the audience awaited the other new tracks from the album. The sold-out crowd was not disappointed.

Five new tracks including "Dear Coach's Corner", "Human(e) Meat (Flensing of Sandor Katz)", "Potemkin City Limits", "Tertium Non Datur" and the title track "Supporting Caste" were all performed during the two shows.

The band moved seamlessly between the punk-rock of "Anti-manifesto" from their first album How to Clean Everything, right through to the metal influenced riffs off Supporting Caste.

It is the first time since 1996 that Propagandhi have graced the Australian punk rock scene and it was one that will not soon be forgotten.

All five members of the progressive thrash band — Jord Samolesky, drums; Chris Hannah, lead guitar and vocals; David Guillas on the rhythm guitar and backing vocals; and Kowalski on bass guitar and backing vocals — are vegan and are actively involved in grassroots politics both in their home town of Winnipeg, Canada and on a broader social scale.

The band has been actively involved in campaigns around issues including veganism, human rights violations, sexism, racism, homophobia, imperialism, fascism and anti-capitalism.

The small area for stalls at the Corner Hotel was completely filled by four different activist groups. Socialist youth organisation Resistance held a successful stall along with Animal Liberation Victoria, the Sea Shepherd, and Mutiny.

Samolesky showed his solidarity with the Palestinian people by wearing a shirt bearing a Palestinian flag and the demand: "Free Palestine. End the Occupation."

He also called upon the crowd to "free Palestine" before launching into the classic Propagandhi song "Hallie Sallasse, Up Your Ass", a song about the Zionist occupation of Palestine, where the crowd joined in with chants of "Fuck Zionism!", "Fuck militarism!", "Fuck religion!"

Politics and activism has fuelled both the song-writing and music of Propagandhi throughout their history.

Propagandhi's third studio album Today's Empires Tomorrow's Ashes contains political videos and essays on topics including COINTELPRO (the FBI's counter-intelligence program aimed at opponents of the US government) and the Black Panther Party.

And while their follow-up album Potemkin City Limits didn't feature any videos it did contain a number of portable document format files on issues including parecon (participatory economics)and veganism.

Politics was again prominent with the release of Propagandhi's live DVD Live From Occupied Territory which contains two full-length documentaries, "Peace, Propaganda and the Promised Land", and the independently produced "As Long As the Rivers Flow: the story of the Grassy Narrows Blockade".

You need Green Left, and we need you!

Green Left is funded by contributions from readers and supporters. Help us reach our funding target.

Make a One-off Donation or choose from one of our Monthly Donation options.

Become a supporter to get the digital edition for $5 per month or the print edition for $10 per month. One-time payment options are available.

You can also call 1800 634 206 to make a donation or to become a supporter. Thank you.