PROPAGANDHI – Live from Occupied Territory: An Official Bootleg
Above-average hardcore vets Propagandhi, whose hearts are in the right place and heads are nowhere in particular, threw together Live from Occupied Territory: An Official Bootleg to benefit a few worthy causes. The main entree here is a 60-minute concert film from a raucous 2003 performance. I’m not a fan of the band, but I cannot deny that they sound great here. They’re crisp and intense, and they sound better live than a lot of similar bands do in the studio. They also know how to put together a set list — just about the right length, appropriately varied, and an all-around appropriate showcase of their talents.
As a DVD, however, Live From Occupied Territory is more or less horrible; spastically filmed, sloppily put together, and edited by a clear amateur. The film is an example as to why one should beware the DIY label, which Propagandhi flaunts in the liner notes — sometimes it can mean “artists working hard on their own projects without interference from others,” and sometimes it can just be an excuse for lazy people to not put a lot of effort into how their product looks. This is the latter, easily. Indeed, Propagandhi are far too eager to draw attention to their shortcomings (the film opens with a tour manager complaining about how irresponsible and rude they are), and while it may endear them to a particularly fractured segment of their audience, embracing their flaws just takes away from their substantial ability.
Rounding out the DVD are two full-length documentaries about the causes the film benefits: The Middle East Children’s Alliance (working for safety and peace in the Middle East, especially for children), and the Grassy Narrows Blockade (opposing logging efforts that would rob the Grassy Narrows First Nation native tribe of Northern Ontario of precious resources). The films are easily more professional projects than the concert, and a worth a look. A photo album and film commentary are normal accessories for this type of release, but don’t add much.
In any case, the quality of the performance and the documentaries should make this an easy recommendation for Propagandhi fans; non-fans would do better to simply donate to the aforementioned charities, at mecaforpeace.org and freegrassy.org.
(G7 Welcoming Committee, PO Box 27006, C-360 Main St., Winnipeg, MB, R3C 4T3 Canada)