Nomeansno- 'musically marrying punk, funk and prog rock while lyrically tiptoeing between sheer bliss and abject despair.'
Nomeansno- ‘musically marrying punk, funk and prog rock while lyrically tiptoeing between sheer bliss and abject despair.’

Nomeansno + Dead Class
Kazimier, Liverpool
5 October 2012

by Richard Cubesville

These wizened quirk punks deliver a belter…

Watch Nomeansno tonight at the Brudenell Social Club, Leeds.

At the crossroads between the personal and the apocalyptic lies Nomeansno. I caught these grizzled Canadian quirk punks in Liverpool on their first venture across the Atlantic in the 1980s ”“ they were jaw-dropping. They drop jaws still.

Since then, Nomeansno established themselves as a part every punk’s playlist, but remained decidedly apart from their peers ”“ musically marrying punk, funk and prog rock while lyrically tiptoeing between sheer bliss and abject despair.

Approaching the apocalyptic tonight are support Dead Class as they wind down towards their final gig. Having found a stable lineup, it’s heartbreaking to watch this charismatic punk band march towards their end. Frontman Villy ”“ a cross between the wild, warbling Jello Biafra, and the crazy, twitching Bruce Campbell of the Evil Dead films ”“ is about as punk as frontmen come. Before a home crowd and knowing the end is nigh, they’re comfortable and even laid back tonight as they deliver material from their two brilliant albums ”“ the early, grungey Boo and snotty punk of Stick. Pulse and a Heartache has an acid rock makeover whereas Best Fighter in the Town has mid-1990s streetpunk stomp. Dead Class, as they say in Liverpool, are Dead Class.

Elder statesmen Nomeansno have this cross-generational crowd in the palms of their hands. They majestically take the stage to a soundtrack of techno before diving into the angsty dirge of In Her Eyes and follow this up with the rollercoaster This is Love. Over the next hour they combine impulsive toe-tapping rhythms with chin-stroking creative nihilism. Despite fighting a running battle with a dodgy PA, they set the room alight when they draw from their near-perfect album Wrong with End of All Things, The Tower and the thrashy instrumental Brainless Wonder.

Bassist Rob Wright’s alter ego Mr Wrong makes an appearance on Nomeansno’s penultimate number when, with clinical precision, he employs an ice hockey move to dispense with a hapless stage invader. Jaws drop and they brazenly launch into I’m an Asshole from their late 1990s Dance of the Hedless Bourgeoisie.

Tonight’s performance did not have the hair-raising impact of their first visit to Liverpool, 25 years ago, but was delivered with the intensity and potency of a tirelessly touring and constantly recording group who pushed punk into the realm of new possibilities. Nomeansno mine from a rich creative vein and deliver their material with deep conviction. And these hoary Canadians play Liverpool in another 25 years, I guarantee jaws will certainly drop.

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