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Friday, May 06, 2005

Review: NoMeansNo/Hanson Brothers - Would We Be...Live? DVD

Weighing in at 3 hours, these two 2002 london shows are a bargain at $19.95 list. Punkervision utilizes a video editing board that's always in sync and deploy enough cameras to catch everything. It also sounds great on my mono tv! Heh heh eh...uh. A steal if you stole it or your money's worth and how. It's great, buy it, I love it, now on to the qualified disclaimers.

NoMeansNo have been around for 28 years or so, recording a schizophrenic catalog of various punk, metal (as much as you can be without a wanky guitar) and jazz influenced music too challenging for most but rewarding for those so inclined. That's an obtuse yet objective statement. They're like The Big Boys in that they both switch between styles that usually didn't appeal to the same audience. They both also have one great Ska song in their catalog.

Rob Wright (bass) and John Wright (drums) are the tightest rhythm section going, bar none. Rob plays bass like a lead and John is (I swear) Buddy Rich sitting in with Killing Joke. Their best songs are pounding, unpredictable and manic. Their worst songs never end and are overly dramatic via hard rock histrionics. I have no metal blood in me at all but even I know I'm right about the song length issue. This DVD finds them playing mostly in the NoMeansNo style I like.

"The River" is a true classic. You must seek it out. Other keepers include "I Have A Gun", "I'm An Asshole", "Dark Ages", "Body Bag" and "Oh No! Bruno!"

The Hanson Brothers are NoMeansNo with John singing and (in the case of this DVD) Ernie on drums. They perform in character: Tommy is a drooling moron, Rob a dimwitted Jason in a goalie mask, Ernie licks his chin like a cow and John chews gun and is confident and in control. Some shots of Tommy drooling are not for the weak. I love, Love, LOVE the Hanson Brothers. They apply the power and precision of NoMeansNo to the Ramones' sound. I'm loathe to say anyone rules, but the Hanson Brothers rule the wasteland.

"Jackoff" has the greatest piece of concert footage I've ever seen. John starts to sing the first chorus when Tommy kicks at someone grabbing at him in the audience. He kicks, points, stops playing, steps back and puts his hands behind his back. At this, John looks over and without missing a beat on his gum or changing his facial expression he walks over, grabs the offender like a ragdoll, tosses him around a bit, probably says to him "Don't make me angry, you wouldn't like me when I'm angry", steps back to the mike, Tommy steps up and they HIT the right note on a dime like nothing happened. I've looked at this 20 times by now. Man that's cool.


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