Friday, October 26, 2012

Propagandhi- Gilman St. 1995

Last Friday and Saturday night, Winnipeg's West End Cultural Centre celebrated it's 25th anniversary with a pair of shows featuring several prominent Manitoba performers. On Saturday, over a dozen performers took the stage to play covers by other Manitoba singers or bands. The sold out show on Friday night featured local punk icons, Propagandhi who kicked off the celebrations with their usual brand of intense hardcore punk/thrash/metal-core sound. The WECC has seen a wide array of acts over the years, everything from rock to country, folk and punk, practically every style of music and since it's not a bar often shows are all-ages, offering kids, adults and old people a place to watch and listen to music. The venue is a comfortable size (300-350-ish?), the sound is always good and the semi-recently renovated lobby makes for a clean and friendly venue to see a concert. It ranks up there as my favourite live music venue in the city.

Recently, I've been transferring some of my live shows on cassette to the computer, so I thought it would be good timing to share an early Propagandhi show from Gilman St. in Berkeley from 1995. I received this tape back in my tape trading days in the early-late 90's, but I noticed recently it might have been the same show as a bootleg that was released in 1999, titled, Curse of The MTV Punks. I'm almost positive I had this cassette a few years before the bootleg came out. The sound is great, probably a soundboard recording and the show is intense with the band at their confrontational best.

both photos by Chris Bellew

Here are the reasons this recording is essential to any Propagandhi or Winnipeg music fan:
  • John K. Samson (pre-Weakerthans) is in the band and plays bass. This is the earliest live recording I have of Samson who leaves the band in 1996 to form the Weakerthans. This recording is historic for this reason alone, but also gives us a listen to one of the songs he penned, Gifts with Samson on lead vocals. It's apparent that Samson's songs didn't really fit the sound and musical direction of Propagandhi and these musical differences are what prompted Samson to split from the band.
  • The crowd baiting and political rants by the band are met with much hostility with fans spitting and screaming at the band. They even allow members of the audience to participate in an "open mike" to vent their hate and anger towards the band. I must admit despite the threats and craziness, the members of Propagandhi (mainly Chris Hannah) hold it together, they push the envelope, but don't let it get out of hand. Man, these guys are brave, cocky as hell, and they get their message out to their audience (fans) without any compromise...gotta admire them. There's more talk, than rock, but it's entertaining and at times scary!
In the most recent issue of Exclaim magazine (a free giveaway paper in Canada), there's an excellent "timeline" article about Propagandhi. The story tracks the band year by year from their forming in 1986 to the present with the release of their new album, Failed States. A well written, detailed article with much information I didn't know. Read it here @

Gilman St.
Berkeley, CA
June 17, 1995

(tranferred from my cassette copy)

01. Apparently, I'm A P.C. Fascist
02. Nailing Descartes To The Wall (Liquid meat is murder)
03. ...And We Thought That Nation-States Were A Bad Idea
04. Less Talk, More Rock
05. Middle Finger Response
06. Resisting Tyrannical Government (It's dirty job, but somebody's gotta do it)
07. Gifts / open mike
08. America Rules
09. Stick The Fucking Flag Up Your Goddamn Ass, You Sonofabitch
10. Mutual Friend

PROPAGANDHI- 1995-06-17 Gilman St. FLAC. rar

Monday, October 22, 2012

Figgs- Maxwell's 2004

photo credit: Danny Clinch

Sorry for the dead-air on the blog, been busy recently with meetings and committees and all that other jazz. Another excuse (good one) is that I've brought my comic collection back home from my parent's basement where it's been stored since I was in my teens. I have safely stored the top valued books at my place for the past few years, but the task of hauling the rest of the collection wasn't high on my priorities. Last week I purchased new bags/backings and cardboard storage books to re-bag the books before cataloguing the titles and conditions. Yes, I was (and still am) a comic book collector and though I have periodically checked their value, I'm now fully realizing this is a good solid collection. I bought new issues in the mid-70's, but maybe a third of the collection is from pre-1970 including many Marvel, DC's, Gold Keys and EC's. Right now, I'm only halfway through the Marvels and if any comic book geeks care, I'll give an update in a couple of weeks. Fun fun!

Of course, this blog's focus is on music and I'm in the process of transferring some of my live concert cassettes to digital format for downloading. I'll start with shorter shows and concerts I've been meaning to transfer for years. I guess I could ask for requests, but you probably don't know what I have. I'll slowly start posting some later this week and let me know what you think.

Today's post, I randomly chose from the hard drive, though I meant to post it a few weeks back. It's a great sounding show from the Figgs home state at Maxwells, but I can't remember where I got the recording, it might have been Soulseek? I have always thought of the Figgs as the quintessential American rock 'n' roll band. They are known by many as the backing band for Graham Parker and Tommy Stinson, but they can definitely hold their own with their deep and prolific discography. Underappreciated and underrated perhaps?  I love the Figgs!

(One word of warning, it's in mp3 format (not FLAC), so it's suitable for playback on your computer or portable device, but please don't sell it or trade it as a uncompressed version.)

Hoboken, NJ
March 19, 2004


01. Start Credits
02. I Bought Kicks
03. No One Here But You
04. Simon Simone
05. Slow Charm
06. Sit & Shake
07. The Trench
08. Ginger
09. Shut
10. Stood Up!
11. Point A Finger
12. Longing For You
13. Attack TCA
14. Je T'Adore
15. Do The Bounce
16. Embrace The Train
17. Running In Place
18. Dance Lesson
19. Somethings Wrong
20. One Hit Wonder
21. Said Enough
22. Wait On Your Shoulder
23. Not Involved
24. If Thats What You Want
25. Fucks Off
26. Metal Detector
27. Static
28. Closing Night

Figgs- 2004-03-19 Maxwells. rar

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Young Fresh Fellows- Gag Fah

Do our fans wish to repeatedly examine our barf? Our forgotten secrecies, guilty pleasures, full-scale embarrassments? What many groups would bury deep in a closet, the Young Fresh Fellows for some questionable reason revel in revealing. The fact that there are those who will find this type of aural portrait at all interesting, or entertaining, or hilarious, or fascinating--and not actually be a member of the band--is still a thrilling mystery to us. Others will find our humble gathering of mishaps tedious, technically insulting, pathetic, and incredibly self-indulgent, not to mention over-priced. This is volume one.
Again we thank you--The Young Fresh Fellows.

Not exactly a sales pitch, but this is portion of the liner notes inside this "fans only" cassette-only release of Gag Fah. If you're a fan or familiar with the band this is a real treat. A fun, not to be taken "too seriously" tape woven together with live tracks, unreleased demos, covers and jokes. I bought my copy directly from the band back in the day (1991-ish?) and it remains one of my favourite Young Fresh Fellow rarities. One suggestion for the band, how about a volume two? Gag Fah draws from material from 1984-1990 and I'm sure there wouldn't be a shortage of material from the past 22 years. (Also someone left a message in the comments section inquiring about the Fabulous Sounds demos, "Big Pile Of Happiness". Anyone know about these or heard them...or have them?)

Sorry for the delay for posting Gag Fah. I have the cassette, but a while ago a friend gave me a ripped CD of the tape (and they might have been mp3's) and I hoped to use that (yes, I am lazy sometimes), but unfortunately there was annoying 3 second gaps between the tracks built into the end of each track. On the tape the tracks flow into each other or are cut off. I tried to correct it with a track splitter, but they didn't line up exactly and still sounded glitchy. I ended up doing a fresh rip of the tape and manually splitting the tracks so there are no gaps just like the tape. It sounds much better! (let me know if it doesn't!)

Gag Fah

(cassette only release)

    GAG (side A)
    1. This Is Gonna Be A Great Show (1:14)
    2. Gus Theme (1:58)
    3. Boy-Girl (1:41)
    4. Ted, Woody and Junior (2:35)
    5. I Lose Control (2:43)
    6. Time Flies (0:21)
    7. Calendar Girl (1:19)
    8. We Are the Salesmen (2:42)
    9. Watching Scotty Grow (2:43)
    10. Evil Ways (1:35)
    11. Earthbound (1:33)
    12. Leather Taxidermy (0:33)
    13. Sittin' 'Round Doin' Nothin' (2:08)
    14. She's So Far Out She's In (2:45)
    15. The Bittersweet Beluga (4:03)

    FAH (side B)
    16. Lookin' Good (2:52)
    17. Scott, Nobleman of Edenbrook Forest (1:18)
    18. Highway 94 (1:53)
    19. Lovely Is The Life (2:22)
    20. The Family Gun (2:31)
    21. The Interstellar Rebellion (3:44)
    22. Rock Around the Clock (3:07)
    23. "Juiced" (part one) (0:15)
    24. Movin' On (2:29)
    25. "Juiced" (part three) (0:48)
    26. Trek to Stupidity (3:19)
    27. Little Brown Jug Twist (5:41)


Thursday, October 04, 2012

Kathleen Edwards- Garrick Centre September 29, 2012

When Kathleen Edwards postponed her show back in April I was sadly disappointed. I saw her at the Winnipeg Folk Festival a couple years back, but sitting in a large field far back from the stage isn't the experience I want to remember Kathleen Edwards by. A few weeks ago, there was a report that she suffered Anaphylactic shock from a wasp sting following a show in Windsor, but fortunately she recovered and didn't have to cancel or postpone any shows. Phew!

An opportunity to see her in a medium/small (indoor) venue, not as an opener, but as a headliner up-close is much more preferred. I probably have more live recordings from her than anyone else, except maybe Wilco and though I sound obsessed I don't feel a urgent need to see her live multiple multiple times. This show filled the bill, I stood dead centre on the floor with a good view of the stage and in the sweet spot for sound, so I was happy. Though I like to complain about the Garrick Centre as being a crappy venue, I must admit it has it's good points. The Garrick is a former movie theatre and it's hall is divided into two sections. The floor (closest to the stage) has had it's seats removed and since it was a theatre the floor slopes up away from the stage. If you can stand the feeling of leaning forward with your feet pushed to front of your shoes, you are treated to a good view because you are elevated on a incline. Beneficial for short people, like myself who have a hard time seeing when tall guys push their way in front of me. The second half of the venue is the seated area (think, movie theatre seating) with one aisle up the middle, usually for the older folks that don't want to stand or care to be close. The sound was better than other shows I've been to there, but it might have been my positioning and there were still signs of that boomy, "big hall sound" because the acoustics in this building are not suited for concerts.

Here are some other thoughts and observations about the concert (I do love point-form!):
  • Interesting to see what type of crowd Kathleen Edwards draws. There seemed to be a lot of "white-hairs" in the crowd especially in the seated section. There wasn't any empty seats up there, while the floor was unusually sparse and not crowded. There was still a good number of college-age kids and middle-agers like me, but there were a lot of old people and the best way to describe it would be a "folk fest" type crowd...which is cool, of course!
  • Before performing Human Touch (Bruce Springsteen cover) together, Jen Grant (opener) walked down the stairs from the back of the hall to the stage giving away copies of a book Kathleen had read and enjoyed called, Above All Things by Tanis Rideout. She got multiple copies from the writer and she was going to give some away during her shows, complete with a trivia question. Cross promotion...?
  • Hockey Skates was performed with only Gord Tough and Jim Bryson on guitars. The trio is touring through the U.S. this month (including Fargo tonight).
  • 8 of the 17 songs performed were from her latest album, Voyageur. Only one song from Back To Me (Back To Me) and four from Failer.
  • During the first encore song, Sidecar, Kathleen and Jim Bryson performed unplugged with one mic for their vocals and 2 acoustic guitars. Though I wasn't standing too far from the stage, on the recording the sound is soft, so crank up the volume for that one song to hear it.
Overall the recording sounds fine and because I wasn't squeezed by people tightly around me, the crowd chatter isn't too bad. I took lots of photos, but as usual I took a lot of blurry ones so the clearest are the ones I'm posting. Generally Kathleen Edwards is cool with live taping so feel free to trade and share the show (NO selling!!). I'll probably post this on Dime soon, but I wanted to share it here first!

Garrick Centre
Winnipeg, MB, Canada
September 29, 2012

Audience master

01. Empty Threat
02. Chameleon/Comedian
03. Asking For Flowers
04. I Make The Dough, You Get The Glory
05. House Full Of Empty Rooms
06. Goodnight, California
07. Going To Hell
08. Hockey Skates
09. Human Touch (w/Jen Grant)
10. Six O'Clock News
11. Back To Me
12. A Soft Place To Land
13. Change The Sheets
14. For The Record

15. Sidecar (w/Jim Bryson) "unplugged"
16. Mercury
17. 12 Bellevue

KATHLEEN EDWARDS- 2012-09-29 FLAC. rar

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