NoMeansNo were always one of those bands that never really fitted into the very formulaic 80s/90s hardcore scene. Too smart to fall into the trap of dumb sloganeering, to wordy to appeal to the ‘run around in a circle and kick people’ crowd, and too, dare I say it, old to conform to the youth-obsessed template of the US-influenced ‘core scene. Yet I always had a soft spot for them, right from the day I bought ‘Small Parts Isolated and Destroyed’ in the old Vinyl Solution shop in West London, along with various Perfect Daze/Hard Ons/Les Thugs records that would always catch our eyes. Or did I buy it at Rough Trade on Talbot Road? Who knows. The memory is fading.
Yes, the Wright brothers plus their guitarist added an unconventional edge to their music [which is in itself a wonderful irony – the genre of music that was supposedly about ‘rebellion’ ‘individualism’ and ‘nonconformity’ was of course one of the most conservative and conformist scenes you could possibly wish for, and I think that a post is long overdue on that very subject when I feel in a ranting mood], which made it immediately less accessible, but more durable in the longer term for me. Those older albums have withstood the test of time. ‘Wrong’ still sounds fresh even today.
Last year, I downloaded their two excellent Tour EP’s, which taken together as one body of work give a good indication of how NMN have grown over the years. Whilst many of the older generation of ‘hardcore’ bands have faded away, only to re-ignite for a cabaret style reunion when the retro craze began, NoMeansNo have ploughed their own furrow and consistently come up with the goods.
In a couple of weeks, the Rip It Up crew will be reuniting for the Hanson Brothers show in Leeds – this being the ‘side project’ for the members of NoMeansNo – a band which is named after the famous ‘Slapshot’ duo of Canadian Ice Hockey players, which performs on stage in hockey gear and plays bastardised Ramones songs at high speed. Can’t wait!
Anyway, in the meantime, what I originally intended to do was just put a preamble to this superbly shot video of NMN playing ‘Jubilation’ from the Tour EP at Camden Underworld. That’s one happy crowd.