Nobodys - Live in Grand Rapids (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick


Live in Grand Rapids (2017)

live show

Battalion of Saints from San Diego, along with The Cryptics from New Hampshire, have recently embarked on a massive 94 date US tour. Along the way they’re going to be joined by several other significant bands like the Nobodys, Oppressed Logic and Opposition Rising (as well as some cool local and regional bands). I’m a huge fan of 80’s punk and hardcore, and Battalion of Saints is a minor bucket list band for me. Three of these shows were within a three hour drive of home, but most were in the middle of the week. Work conflicts and a lack of funds were going to keep me from seeing this amazing tour. I was bummed. A small ray of sunshine came in the form of the Nobodys.

I first saw the Nobodys way back in the summer of 1996. My brother and I had gone to Portsmouth, NH to visit a friend. He had to work one night so we went to hang out at the ‘punk’ bar in town, the now long defunct Elvis Room. We saw two bands that night. The first was a local anarcho, 77 style, pogo-punk revival act called something like 10 Tons of Napalm. (I’m not sure if that’s exactly right. If you were in that scene, set me straight.) They played for a large and boisterous local audience. I thought they were OK. The second band was Colorado’s Nobodys. They played for smaller and less boisterous audience, but I liked them quite a bit. I picked up their Short Songs For Short Attention Spans (1996) album, and have been a fan ever since.

The Nobodys show at the Tip Top Deluxe Bar and Grill in Grand Rapids on Wednesday September 27th was set up at the last minute. The tour had a day off between Fort Wayne and Detroit, so they came up to play a one off date. Local band Sleep Cheaters opened the show with a half hour or so of hard to define funky punk. They kind of remind me of maybe the Minutemen, the Big Boys, or a harder edged Talking Heads. The music has a sort of deconstructed quality to it. I had seen the band only once before, and it was more than a year ago. I enjoyed them more this time.

Next up was The Bloody Lips. I’m pretty confident that when 2017 is over, this will be the band that I’ve written about the most. I’m also pretty confident that I’ve already written more about them than the band that spawned them, The Lippies. The Bloody Lips are always setting up shows, so they get to keep the coolest gigs for themselves. (This is an important lesson kids!) They played their typical, violent, less than half hour set. That’s not to take what they do for granted, it’s just that their shows are consistently good. They’re a female fronted hardcore band with just a touch of ska. They’re one of my local favorites and you should check them out.

For those not familiar with the Nobodys, they were on Hopeless Records back in the 90’s, but were not so much different than a lot of the stuff Lookout! was putting out. They always had the ability to write catchy, classic sounding pop songs, in the same way that Joe King of The Queers did. Many of those songs are sort of dirty and about drinking, drugs, sex or pornography. (Also kind of like The Queers.) Vocalist/bassist JJ Nobody has a memorable and abrasive singing voice. (Think maybe Joey Vindictive of The Vindictives fame.)

Due to the last minute nature of this show, the turnout was not great. If that bothered the Nobodys, you certainly couldn’t tell. JJ and company burned through about 20 songs, rarely pausing to take a rest. They played a handful of tunes from Short Songs including the pop-punk masterpiece “Scarred By Love”, the masturbation epic “Vaseline and a Magazine”, “Sick of You” and “She’s Getting Sick of Me”. (Sadly, my request for “Perfect” was ignored.) There were also a couple of newer gems including the anthem “Sex, Drugs, Sex and Rock & Roll” and the Replacements cover “Beer for Breakfast”. The biggest applause was reserved for their ‘hits’ “All Kinds of Girls” and “A Girl Like You”. The latter was from the Cinema Beer Nuts (1997) compilation, and received a significant vocal assist from The Bloody Lips drummer Josh Stacey.

The quality of the show was made even more impressive by the fact that this makeshift lineup has not been playing together for long. The second guitar spot was filled by Josh Goldman, owner of Rad Girlfriend Records. Rad Girlfriend has been putting out some really cool stuff, including the Nobodys new album Hussy (2016). Sometimes I wonder if Josh signs bands just so he can play with them. Back in June I saw him play second guitar for The Dopamines, and he also put out their very solid new LP Tales of Interest. Drums on this tour were played by the incomparable Tim O’Hara of Lillingtons fame. (I also saw The Lillingtons twice a month earlier.)

This show was a lot of fun. I had spent the night before at a (relatively) big, impersonal metal show, and this was just so much more immediate. I got a chance to talk to a couple of the guys in the band, and they were very friendly. The drinks were flowing and the general vibe was great. The small crowd was friendly too, and everyone seemed to be having a wonderful time. I’m happy to report that the Nobodys are alive and well. You should check them out if you get the chance, especially with Battalion of Saints.