Nomeansno are the only band I've seen who exhaust me. Twice now, of four gigs I've seen, I've left, spent, before they finished playing -- their last show at Richards on Richards, I snuck out while they were grinding out the Ramones' "Beat on the Brat;" tonight, I left just after a cover of the Clash's "I'm So Bored with the U.S.A.," hearing them start up again with "Angel or Devil" as I walked down the stairs to the sidewalk, ears ringing. They played for over two hours, with considerable energy and enthusiasm. Not bad for a bunch of old farts.
...and speaking of farts, I'd like to apologize to the moshers for letting a couple go during "Body Bag." Given the lyrics to the song ("they say the eyes are the windows of the soul/ but I love all of the little dark holes/ in the body bag"), I suppose it's understandable that my own dark holes would want to sing along. Besides, the smell of the skunk that was wafting in from outside seemed to cover most of it (...or was that a different kind of skunk?).
Anyhow, what's to say? John has more hair, and has added a goatee to his controversial moustache, which works a bit better. Rob, over at the merch table before the show, indulged my pestering question about his favourite book by recommending Joyce's Ulysses ("it'll take a coupla or three months , but it's worth it," he said, when he could see the recommendation was a daunting one). Tom sang "Dad" and one or two others and looks like he may have put on five pounds or so. None of their bald spots are any bigger than they were last time. The pit was intense and mostly something I avoided; but some young kid in a brush cut and a Mama t-shirt kept stage diving, and I bore him up for awhile, just like St. Christopher. I was pleased to see girls moshing -- this odd tribal ritual of violent ecstacy and self-annihilation seems to mostly attract men. It's especially nice to have female flesh smashed up against you every now and then, tho'.
Me, I am too old, too fat, too slow, too cerebral to really mosh anymore, to mosh completely, but I managed to participate a bit when the band did "The River," my favourite o' theirs. Rivers as that which flow, but also that which divide ("rive"). A "time destroys all things" kind of song. A song about life, separation, pain. If Nietzsche were alive, "The River" would probably be his favourite Nomeansno song. He'd speak about the need to affirm even the most painful aspects of life and maybe offer a comment or two on the nature of the Dionysian. Mosh pits are very Dionysian. It's a song I need to try to lose myself in from time to time, and moshing is a good way to do that.
I still wish they'd put "Joyful Reunion" and/or "The Tower" in their set. I'd mosh to those, too.
Anyhow, cheers to Nomeansno for continuing to do what they do. I'll look at Ulysses someday, Rob, I really will.