Live From Occupied Territory (G7 Welcoming Committee)
by Tim Den
On July 19th, 2003, melodic thrash punk masters Propagandhi played a benefit show for Grassy Narrows First Nation Blockade in Winnipeg, killing it as usual over 17 songs of blood-boiling, spirit-rousing anthems. If you’ve ever been exposed to their brand of highly intelligent (both lyrically and musically), self-deprecating, humanist, and common sense-based attack, you’ll know that there’s no better punk band today. I guess the lack of proper competition (Green Day? Sum 41? My Chemical Romance?) makes the title a bit less glorified, but make no mistake: Propagandhi are the last batch of outsiders who still dare to think altruistically while translating their frustrations and observations into sweet, powerful lixx.
On this night, with the crowd with ’em every step of the way, they again prove that they have no equal. The songs, the chops, the humor, the urgency, the cause: The motherfucking perfect package. And even though the show took place before the band delivered their crowning achievement (‘05’s Potemkin City Limits), us lucky bastards get “Name and Address Withheld” from that album as an early draft. Not shabby at all. But Live From Occupied Territory is about more than “a rag-tag band of barely-literate human stains… headbanging to their own music,” in keeping with Propagandhi tradition, it’s also a tool of knowledge. Included here are two full-length documentaries, Peace, Propaganda and the Promised Land and As Long as the Rivers Flow. The first analyzes how U.S. media chooses to cover the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in Israel, the latter the resistance by Grassy Narrow natives against multinational corporations clear-cutting and destroying their land. Both are incredibly informative and avoid being preachy, presenting the facts as they are and often told through the mouths of people living right in the midst of the issues. The two subject matters might seem unrelated, but at their core, the abuse is one and the same: Systematically, cold-heartedly oppressing and eliminating specific groups of people who stand in the way of monetary interests. I know I’m gonna sound like a total fucking bum out when I say this, but if this is what human civilization has evolved into after millenniums of not learning from history’s mistakes, then I say bring on Armageddon already. Not that I want everyone to reach the same conclusion that I have about life on earth, but PLEASE: Do yourselves a favor and watch the documentaries. They will enlighten you.
A blistering set from an infallible band, plus the chance to educate yourself beyond Fox News: What else can you ask for? Live From Occupied Territory is absolutely essential, just like how the last slivers of decent human beings on this earth need Propagandhi’s inspirational songs.