Nomeansno - Electric Circus, Edinburgh, Tue 28 May 2013
A ridiculously good gig by the unfeasibly great group of Canadian math rock progenitors
‘I hate wankers,’ declared guitarist Rob Wright apropos of nothing, with a wry grin. Who was the Canadian punk’s tirade in reference to? Surely not his adoring crowd, who helped the band produce a show to remember. As one hirsute stage invader attempted to marshall the crowd into crowdsurfing position, Tom Holliston unceremoniously barged the interloper back into the pit. The mayhem continued. This was a ridiculously good gig by an unfeasibly great band amidst unexpectedly energetic circumstances.
All in their fifties, the trio of Canadian math rock progenitors – Holliston, Wright and the latter’s drumming brother John – are no respecters of the ‘pale tribute act’ status afforded fellow old-stagers. Selecting songs from their 30-year career, they blended angry rock snarl with vulgarly sexual bass grind on ‘Slave’ and ‘The Tower’, while ‘The World Wasn’t Built in a Day’ evoked a slow-loping walk through mean city streets at night.
Their Ramones love was indulgently well-exercised (‘I Don’t Care’ and ‘Sheena is a Punk Rocker’ both appeared), but otherwise this was a show built on defiant originality and emotion.