How auspicious. 5th October, I am informed by the BBC, was the date of the first Beatles show in Liverpool 50 years ago. And DeHud has procured tickets for us to see Canadian prog-punk legends NmN on the same date, in the city that started it all – Liverpool! Sounds too good to be true, don’t it? Well, it nearly was.
I managed to get sent to North London by work on the Friday. As my hopes of an early departure began to slowly fade away, I started to consider the very real possibility that I was not going to make the 200 odd mile journey in time. The minute I had finished, I was hot-tailing it to the car, then frustratedly picking my way through the slow London traffic, finally on to the motorways which by this time were filling up nicely with Friday afternoon congestion. The M1 was flowing nicely, until after about an hour the warning signs began flashing. I must have spent nearly an hour in tooth grindingly slow traffic, all the time watching the sat nav as the predicted arrival time moved later and later. Finally, after some four hours of motorway misery, I was pulling up outside DeHud’s house, ready to drop my bags, get changed and run for the train. 8.30 saw us both walking thirstily out of the entrance to Liverpool Central rail station – and into a great pub called the Old Post Office where we both demolished two pints of Stella in the time it took to say ‘Two pints of Stella’.
We arrived at the venue, known as the Kazimer, just as the support band had shuffled off. As we stocked up on German lager at the thronging bar, the familiar grey hair of the Wright brothers was visible from the stage – Rob in a bright green NmN t-shirt, John in a ‘Mom loves me best’ t-shirt. It was not long until the band, completed by Tom Holliston on guitar, took their places and the show began.
Now one of the first articles I posted on the web based Rip It Up was a review, from back in April this year, of the Hanson Brothers show in Leeds. You probably know that the Hansons are a side project for the members of NoMeansNo – that show was a classic so we had high hopes tonight, having discussed that the last time we saw the band was way back in ’91, at the legendary Duchess of York in Leeds.
The audience was interesting. As we stood at the back, we were reassured by the amount of greying hair, bald patches and general signs of age that we could see. The band has been doing its thing since before Lennon was shot, so you have to expect a maturing audience!
Songs both new and old were given an airing. One of my more recent faves, ‘Old’, was sadly not among them, but we did get amongst others ‘Jubilation’ from the same ep, as well as a lot of older material. The dynamic of the band is all based around Rob – at 58 the eldest member by some years. Although Tom is a more than competent guitarist, he was all but blocked out by the fantastic sound of Wright’s Fender Precision Bass. NmN are a bass-driven band, make no mistake. And man, can Rob play that bass. A couple of times, older songs turned into full blown jams as the three of them traded licks – it was almost akin to seeing a particularly raucous jazz band on stage as the chords and notes boomed out of the bass cabs.
As I mentioned, there was a clear line of demarcation between the two elements of the audience – the older crowd, content to nod and occasionally sing along, and the youngsters who made up the pit down the front. A couple of tiresome drunken assholes launched themselves time after time off the stage, often directly in front of Wright himself – until he had enough and quite impressively pushed the idiot in question off the stage and on to the floor. Bloody youngsters!
The show went on – the band treated us to almost two hours of great material with a sound and volume that was almost perfect – clear as a bell and just the right level of volume and power. They returned to do a couple of encores, and then, the end! I could have enjoyed another couple of hours of the back catalogue, but the guys had to be off to Leeds for last night’s show, the final one of the tour. Come back soon guys…