Friday, June 30, 2006

Nomeansno at the Commodore with Zu

Damn, Nomeansno are smart fellas. It never ceases to fascinate me how “Rags and Bones” comments, at one point, so beautifully on moshing, while moshing is going on (what else could “The beast has arisen/ All sins are forgiven/ In the belly of the beast/ I shall be released” possibly refer to? By descending into animalism we transcend our humanity briefly and experience rapture; isn’t that what moshing is about, REALLY? No wonder Rob wears a priest’s garment on occasion – he’s bestowing a sorta benediction upon us. Tho' tonight he wore what I think was a Siouxsie and the Banshees' t-shirt, “to embarrass his wife”).

The new songs are sounding good. I could make out some of the lyrics, this time, contra the Small Parts gig. “I’m Dreaming and I Can’t Wake up,” with it’s growled plea, “You call this shit reality?” is going to be a favourite o’ mine, I suspect; and I am most curious to sit down and try to figure out what the hell “Slugs are Burning” is about. It was nice that the band included “The Tower” in their set, which I've been waiting to hear live for years, but after thrashing around to that, I saved what was left of my scanty moshpit energy waiting for “The River,” “My Politics” (did they even play a song from Worldhood?) or, hope beyond hope, “Joyful Reunion;” alas, I waited in vain. Nice to hear “No Sex” performed, tho', and Tom offered us his “Big Dick” towards the end, which he hasn't whipped out in awhile; the band included quite a few numbers that they don't do live so often. The big treat, tho', was that Luca of the Italian thrash-jazz trio Zu (who are a band to watch; they’ve got a lot of power and energy and seem truly passionate about what they do) joined Nomeansno onstage for a live version of “Bitches Brew,” the inclusion of which in the set seemed perfectly necessary to me, given that this was a jazz festival, but which I actually didn't really expect they'd DO. (There are pics of Rob Wright jamming with Zu on the official site, by the way). Anyone catching up with Zu and Nomeansno on their mini-tour are warned, tho’: it seems like a problem that dogs Zu is that Luca’s baritone sax tends to get drowned out by Massimo’s bass amp, particularly in places with small P.A.s. At the Ironworks, none of the details of Mats Gustaffson and Luca’s playing really came through, and their repeated requests to be turned louder simply couldn’t be granted, since they were already playing at maximum volume. You could see them blowing like hell, but the sound you heard just wasn’t the equal of the gale force they were clearly exerting, and much of the lower ranges were swallowed up altogether. At the Commodore, which has a far better sound system, it was still a bit of an issue – you had to be far back enough from the stage, in range of the speakers to the sides, to really hear what Luca was playing; both with Zu and with Nomeansno, people standing close lost a lot of it, which, really, is a shame, since he’s a true enthusiast (he wore a Slayer shirt tonight, by the way).

I don’t want to say anything bad about Wibutee, since a) they’re Norwegian, and I have a positive disposition towards Norway because of bands like Supersilent and Fe-mail (who play Friday and Saturday, note -- if their site is still down, see here). And then there's Odd Nerdrum, Edvard Munch and Knut Hamsun... Also, it is probable that in their place -- somewhere young, well-dressed, and affluent members of the middle class with disposable income and undemanding tastes go to dance, for instance --Wibutee would be a perfectly acceptable entertainment. That place is NOT between Zu and Nomeansno, though, and Coastal Jazz really needs to make a note of that. For future reference.

By the way, John Wright threw a few copies of the new CD out into the audience, so don’t believe the disinfo that it’s coming out in September… I suspect we'll be seeing it much sooner.

As a final note, boo to HMV: the band couldn't sell their own CDs or copies of the new disc because HMV apparently had exclusive rights on CD sales, including vast stacks of the only two CDs they actually were able to get ahold of, In the Fishtank and The People's Choice (with big stickers blocking out the FUCKEN, like any of us would be shocked -- and not the Talk-Action=A Good Dinner Party stickers, either) . Surely they could have found a better way of organizing things? At least they could have contacted Southern and tried to bring up some of the harder to find CDs now being reissued, rather than trying to sell us items we all already have? ...And was it really physically IMPOSSIBLE for them to find a way to get the new disc onto the table, given that this was the band's CD release show? ...HMV strike me more and more as a faceless corporation that regard us as a faceless mass; they have no apparent respect for art, culture, or taste -- they just want to make MONEY, by pushing whatever is easily pushed; the longer they survive on Robson, the more I realize how unique Virgin was. Even the semiotics of the store are different: whereas Virgin would have sections devoted to hip and weird items that the staff wanted to promote, and take pride in stocking obscure and out-there items, knowing that most people consume to attain a feeling of DISTINCTION from the herd, not a feeling of belonging to it, HMV barrage us with sale stickers and vast piles of identical items, sending the message that we all REALLY want the same stuff, as long as it's cheap enough. Even the music that plays in the background is bland commercial crap, approved by corporate headquarters, we assume -- compared to what you used to be able to hear at Virgin, which was often out of the realm of the usual. Grazing music, for sheep. To which I say bah, not baa.

Wish I had the wherewithal to make it to Tofino for tonight's show... I tried to tell Luca about Kennedy Lake, the best swimming hole I've ever seen, but I'm not sure the message got through th' language barrier... He seems like a really friendly guy, for someone who wears a Slayer shirt.

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