No Means No & the Hanson Brothers: Would We Be... Live?: DVD

Sep 05, 2007

There are some great bands still kicking around these days, but very few of them are just as, well, HUGE as No Means No are live. They really are a sight to behold. On the stage, these guys come off like musical giants – tight, heavy and weird giants. And on this DVD, you get a taste of what that is like – twenty songs by this fiery power trio. Best of all, these guys are living proof that musicians don’t have to put their guts out to pasture and go all Westerberg just because they turn thirty-five. In fact, it can be said, without hyperbole, that these three salt and pepper-haired Canucks bring more heat live than a dump truck full of the most preening, Mountain Dew-swilling, spiky-haired-dad-hater punques the suburbs have to offer.


The second band on this video is the Hanson Brothers, which feature No Means No drummer John Wright on the mic (as his alter-ego Johnny Hanson) and No Means No guitarist Tom Holliston (on the six-string as Tommy Hanson). The band’s name is an homage to the three scene-stealing, “differently-abled” brothers from the 1977 hockey movie Slapshot. (“They’re fuckin’ horrible lookin’. What did the old man trade for these assholes, a used puck bag?”)


The Hanson Brothers are also a great band, full of big rock styling. Their tunes are much more straightforward, four-on-the-floor punk than the staccato, stop on a dime songs of No Means No, but they also really know how to bring it live. Most of their songs are about hockey and beer, but their appeal will not be lost on you if you’re not into these two things – for some unfathomable reason.


This DVD is really fun to watch and is exceptionally well-produced, but No Means No are one of the best bands you’ll ever see live. They are the Grand Canyon of punk. Pictures will never do them justice. So, it’s hard to say that this video captures all the verve of being there. But that is a really a failing of ALL live videos, not this one in particular. In fact, the folks at Punkervision deserve full marks for producing such a high-quality live video with a limited amount of equipment and crew at their disposal. Their videos are shot on four separate hand-held cameras, with no communication between the operators. The audio is recorded with a mix of the live board feed and area mics. All four video feeds are synched up with the audio later and cut together. Punkervision, like punk music itself, gets great results from being a model of efficiency, relying more on pluck and raw talent than fluff and frills. –Jeff Fox (Punkervision)