Unfortunately, the first two bands of the night shall remain nameless because it seems that I cannot find their names anywhere, and cannot recall the sign prominently displaying their names in colourful chalk outside of Lee’s Palace that night. Regardless, the night went well, Lee’s Palace was packed, I dislike the venue for two main reasons though; first, the stage is super high, if you’re at the front you’re going to get a neck cramp seeing as you’re right in front and there isn’t any barrier to keep you back from the stage. The second reason is the poor selection of beer; they have Steamwhistle (thank god) but no Canadian, Moosehead or any of my other favourites.
Besides the 8-foot-high stage and the terrible beer selection, there was music being played, go figure. The opening act seemed to be some washed out surf-punks. It almost seemed as though a few high school buddies decided to get the old band back together and hit the road. The singer was trying to do the classic punk rock jumps but it made me sad. If you saw the Super Bowl halftime you’ll recall Bruce Springsteen attempting a few “around the world’s” with his guitar. Remember how it just looked like he was struggling and it was just sad to watch? It was like that. The “move”, if you will, looks awesome but I guess at a certain age it just dies out and just becomes cheesy. To me, their sound was sort of Dead Kennedys goes surf, nothing much else on that aspect, it was catchy, but not for me.
Next up, a jam band straight out of Poland if I’m not mistaken. These guys were good, real good. They had a real groove to their sound. They had two synth players which you don’t see too often, the one was facing sideways and every now and then through out the set would just stand up an announce into the only microphone on the stage that he loved Canada, this guy ruled at life and knew it. The other one was pretty much just doing effects it seemed, but at least he was facing forward. The bassist was super into it and was bobbing his mullet-covered head at every opportunity, his facial expressions were priceless, and needless to say I really got a kick out of this guy. The first few songs had absolutely no vocals, hence my labeling this band as a jam band. The second song had a lot of bass in it and really surprised me but it worked, the shaker added some good effects as well. The guitarist started singing around the fourth or fifth song, which was good, because when you have a jam band playing, it becomes background noise. I’m pretty sure I was one of maybe 15 people in the room paying attention, everyone else was talking. Honestly, even if it wasn’t my job I’d probably still be paying attention, these guys were real good and I suggest that if you ever have the chance to find out what they’re called, message me, let me know and then listen to them constantly.
Last band of the night, NoMeansNo, I had never seen them live or heard much of their music aside from a Neil Young cover I got off a compilation CD that I bought in Chicago a few years ago. It was obvious who everyone was there to see, up to and during the set. Everyone was chanting their name and singing along. The best way to describe NoMeansNo is if you imagine your grandfather being the coolest old guy you know. He was into punk when it first started and he’s still touring with two of his buddies and they have a huge following and lyrics like “Why don’t you fuck off and die?!” Yep, it was a sight to see, and totally unexpected.
The drums were at the front of the stage and turned to sideways, it was odd but understandable. The drummer adds his voice to the songs and talks to the audience just as much as the other two. The drummer was rocking a full Hawaiian inspired outfit; it was brightly coloured, mostly yellow and totally hilarious. Besides that, I appreciated his drumming technique, holding the stick in his left hand like you’re supposed to, like a pencil but at the butt end. The guitarist occasionally jumped around, which I’m sure looked awesome back in the day but I was more worried about him breaking a hip on stage. Thankfully, he didn’t and he totally showed up the singer/guitarist from the first band as he didn’t look like it was that much of a struggle for him.
The singer made some hilarious comments, comparing CEOs of major companies to child molesters and the like. The music was awesome, punk rock at its finest; I knew what to expect song after song and enjoyed it thoroughly. Unknowingly, however, NoMeansNo is famous for their sets being two hours or more. If I had been expecting such a long set maybe it wouldn’t have seemed to drag on like it did. When I thought it was done, the crowd was chanting their name and I thought to myself, oh alright, one more song, that’s to be expected. But that one song turned into another hour of punk rock. The length was the only thing I disliked about the set, this band was awesome and I highly recommend you give them a listen if you’re a fan of punk rock.
Post-show my friend Vanessa Blum and I headed out for sushi, the least punk rock food possible, and reminisced about everything we saw. If you were there I know you had a good time and if NoMeansNo is still able to keep out of the old-age homes and tour again, check them out, as well as the second band, someone message me their name! [ END ]
Check out the song: “All Lies”