Billed as the ‘Sudden Debt Tour 2012’, this show was the conclusion of the tour of Europe that has seen the Hanson Brothers and The Invasives play an impressive schedule of live shows through Europe. My first visit to the Brudenell Social Club in Leeds was marked by a line up so extensive it almost qualified as a mini festival.
After meeting up at the station with my fellow Rip It Up staffer Mark, we took ourselves through the teeming streets and up to the excellent North Bar, a small and unassuming institution serving a fine selection of beers. Later, after a show of solidarity against the government’s unjust ‘Pasty Tax’ by patronising Greggs and a remarkable halal chicken joint, we weaved our way unsteadily towards Hyde Park and studentland via a series of pubs, sampling imported beers and making conversation of the merriest and lightest kind, and only after following a circuitous route through the hinterland did we eventually arrive, just as the first band took to the stage.
The first band up was Beards, I think. They played an energetic set,with all the hardcore touches present and correct. Unfortunately the set was rather too short to make the required impression on me, as the bill was so full.
Next up was a band we were quite excited to see, having posted one of their songs recently in the Music section. The Magnificent are a band from Huddersfield, and they started in 2007. The current line-up is Matt (guitar, vocals), Jimmy (bass, vocals) and Charlie (drums). They played a tight set, with a sound that contained energy, tunes and rather more originality that many bands you see nowadays. It’s refreshing to see up and coming bands who don’t feel that they have to simply re – hash all the old Minor Threat standards, instead having their own sound and using others’ material as influences as opposed to simply creating a carbon copy.
Then The Cyanide Pills took to the stage. They are quite simply the most punk thing I have seen in years, right down to the fact that not one but two of their number were wearing white leather jackets! They played a tight set, betraying their self-confessed influences: The Buzzcocks, a bit of Ramones sing along, in fact you name a 1977 British punk band and they have the sound nailed! Mark was so impressed that he bought their CD.
With excitement increasing and the venue filling up rapidly [it’s a nice sized hall for bands], it was the turn of The Invasives from Canada to take the stage. They are touring with their hockey obsessed countrymen, The Hanson Brothers. Invasives are a trio from Vancouver BC formed in 2001 and consisting of 2 brothers Byron and Adam Slack (Vocals/Guitar/Bass) and 1 Hans Anus (Drums). They play a kind of similar sounding music to NoMeansNo – very much the stripped to the bone, angular type of hardcore sound, with unexpected time changes and an interesting vocal style. I really rate them, and hope to get hold of their last LP, ‘Desk Job at castle Dracula’.
Then, after a bit of a break, it was time for the Hansons to get up and play hockey. Rob and John Wright, Tom Holliston and Hanson-only Mike Branum make up the band members, and they perform complete with two striped shirted referees who deal with any foul play by both the musicians and any crowd members. As expected, they played a blindingly tight, fast and generally get up and fucking go punk rock set, pausing only to catch their breath before launching headlong into another Ramones-esque thrash. Truly marvellous, and with more hooks than your local angling club!
I’m not sure what I was expecting from this jokey side project for the Wright brothers and Tom Hollister. I mean, NoMeansNo are one of the longer serving, more ‘cerebral’ of the bands I have followed over the years, and I’d only ever heard the Ramones cliches when the Hansons were mentioned. But they are actually a band with their own style and songs, and they go much further than just cranking out dumb ass sub Ramones stuff. As expected their musical accomplishment was unquestionable but the whole band concept it seems like a kind of pressure valve for when NmN gets too serious for them perhaps. In an interview with Chart Attack which I read some time ago, John Wright, who normally resides behind the drum kit in NmN, says:
“The Hanson Brothers is a great release for us,” Wright continues. “Robbie’s the lead in Nomeansno, being up front singing.
He gets to put on a mask and do nothing but play bass and rock out. I get out from behind the drums and get to be a goof, up close to the audience. I can assault them.
Tom loves the Ramones, so he’s just pounding out bar chords. You play in the same band for so many years, it gets stale. You need to reinvigorate.”
They have actually created the Hanson characters with remarkable observation of the stereotyped Canadian male – who is all about beer drinking, patriotism and HOCKEY! It’s amusing on more than one level really, and that is their triumph.