October 24, 1995 in Features

, Nomeansno Remains A Great Band Vancouver Punk Quarter Ranks Among Region’s Best

Joe Ehrbar Correspondent
 

NoMeansNo Friday, Oct. 20, Knights of Columbus

When the Northwest music scene was still in diapers and members of Nirvana, Soundgarden and Pearl Jam were still learning to play their instruments, there stood NoMeansNo, a brilliant and relatively unknown punk band from Vancouver, British Columbia.

Today, NoMeansNo remains underground and vastly under-rated, but nonetheless one of the region’s most crucial punk rock bands.

The band first played Spokane in the mid-‘80s, where it quickly developed a loyal, almost religious, following. Then, fans understood the importance of the band.

On Friday night at the Knights of Columbus, about 500 fans, ranging in age from early teens to early 30s, came out to see one of the greatest bands the Northwest has ever produced.

This unit proves you don’t have to be a household name or a million-seller to be worthy of greatness. You just have to have an extraordinary sound, which it does.

Standing on a pedestal of substantial works like “Why Do They Call Me Mister Happy?”, “Wrong” and “0+2=1,” the quartet masterfully blazed through an hour-plus performance.

Though the four were hindered by three power outtages, they shouldered frustrations, playing with virtuosity, grace and assertion.

The band, often powered by two drummers, rang in the night with the building “Lullaby” and the spine-grooving “Now” and ended it with the monstrous rhythmic undercurrents of “The River.”

NoMeansNo mostly emphasized material from its forthcoming album “The Worldhood Of The World (As Such).”

With the songs “Angel Or Devil,” “Humans,” and “I’ve Got A Gun,” the foursome flexed its brawny punk rock muscle, speaking to the audience primally.

Other jazz-accented songs like “The Tower” and “Victim’s Choice” twisted and turned like a long and winding road. It was with these songs, that NoMeansNo’s provocative social commentary took the front seat and the jazzy noodlings provided a perfect backdrop.

NoMeansNo might never get its fair due, but that’s not stopping the band from churning out some of the best non-derivative rock ‘n’ roll around.

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