Crisis alert / death Mountain
Manning Bar, Sydney 06/06/2014
opening acts, if correctly booked, will have things in common with the headliners. Death Mountain kept the fans of Propagandhi’s unusual song structures and eccentric guitar phrasings happy. The three-piece mashed a sense of indie melody you might hear in certain old Revelation Records emo acts (e.g. Farside) with fiddly guitars, sensitive, moaning vocals and awkwardly constructed measures.
Crisis Alert were about one thing: speed. We couldn’t quibble with comparisons to SS Decontrol or other ’80s east coast hardcore acts. Nearly every song was spot-on identical, as is the case with such flat-out, monotone hardcore. Their aggression and the tidiness of their performance was nearimpeccable, and vocalist “Footy” can bark with the best of them, but – like your stupid parents will have told you – it all sounded a bit like the one song played over and over again…
After a message from refugee advocates RISE, Propagandhi opened with “Dear Coach’s Corner”. There were pauses between songs for Chris Hannah to remind the Manning Bar he doesn’t much like Tony Abbott or transnational companies (it’d be weird if he didn’t, we suppose) or recall embarrassing stories, such as one about a band member having to karate chop a log of his own faeces.
Hannah’s command of his axe through fiddly passages like those in “Cognitive Suicide” was complete. His band were similarly musically nimble, though – with the exception of Todd Kowalski – they do not move around the stage an exceptional amount.
The band focused on material written since Kowalski joined the band. Old farts, such as those who saw the band play at this same venue in ’97, were kept happy with a nostalgiaoriented encore.
The headliners managed to seamlessly fuse complexity and speed, as well as a sense of purpose and a warped sense of humour. The line, “A sum of our parts, and I’ve never laughed harder” from two-decades-old closing number “Anti-Manifesto” still summed things up.