NOMEANSNO @ The Cabaret

By Dr. Sars - Idle Minds - 10/08/04

Last Friday, I saw yet another fine performance from the band NoMeansNo. I didn't realize how many fans of the band were out there in Montreal, but I wasn't alone. The show sold out, something that I certainly wasn't expecting, but in retrospect it makes a lot of sense since the band hasn't been in Montreal in 3 years. I thought that these guys had hung up their instruments; we haven't seen anything new since 2001, and we haven't seen a new full-length album since 2000.

They decided to stop in on Montreal en route to Europe for a tour (a place where they make their money; Europe's quite often ahead of us in matters of art). Supporting their most recent release "The People's Choice", a greatest hits package of songs chosen by record executives in Toronto (that was the bands joke that evening anyways). I don't know how they managed to cover an entire 20+ year career with a single album, but there are many songs sorely missed. They did manage to get through the whole album for their set on Friday night, which isn't surprising: they're known for their 1 ½ + hour sets.

These guys may have lost a step over the years. I saw that Rob Wright has given up some of his vocal duties, and doesn't sing with as much punch in his songs filled with sarcasm and contradiction. This is by no means a very negative assault; he may have had a sore throat for the night and in general he may still be able to pull it off on most nights (I'm not sure since I didn't interview him). What I do know is that they are a tighter band than ever before. Don't let the punk thing fool you, these guys are true musicians and the years have only made them better at it. When you look at musical styles that they are labeled as, you never see jazz listed. They jammed their songs on Friday to the point where they were barely recognizable to even a seasoned fan. They know improvisation and it seems that they really had fun with it.

In summary, it wasn't the best NoMeansNo show that I've been to (in all fairness I saw them play with 2 drummers once - that was crazy), but it was still one of the better shows that an aging hipster could take in. It may have been history as well that night, since I get the feeling we'll never see them again (sigh).

Dr. Sars is a regular co-host on Losing My Edge (Sundays from 2-4pm, Tuesdays from 8-10pm), and is a founding father of Idle Minds (Sundays from 4-pm). His handsome face also graces the cover of this month's T'aint.