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Queen Mary College London,(Melody Maker, 08-11-86)
London University, (Melody Maker, 11-11-89)
Mean Fiddler, (Melody Maker, 07-07-90)
Marquee London, (Melody Maker, 09-02-91)
Powerhaus London, (Melody Maker, 06-07-91)
"THIS is from our new LP, ,The Curse Of The Mekons'. And the curse works, ,I'llI
tell you. We're sorted now." By the end of the night, it's impossible to argue
wjth Jan Langford's words. Times have been hard for The Mekons, and recently the
going got that bit too taugh for the band's old rhythm sectian. But two new recruits,
bassist Ruth Cochran and drummer John Langley, seem to have given them a fresh
kick-start. These days, nobody seems to be able to review this band without mentioning
The Clash. True, certoin upbeat Meeksnumbers - ,,Memphis Egypt", say, or ,Blow
Your Tuneless Trumpet", both of which shake the floorboards tonight -do bear a
superficial resemblance to the contents of ihe Strummer/Jones songbook. But to
dismiss The Mekons as revivalists is facile in the extreme.
For a start, to do so ignores their uniquely strange and unsettling lyrics. Songs
Iike ,,Amnesia" or ,,Last Dance" are full of disorientating lines that make The
Mekons a more genuinely psychedelic band than Happy Mondays will ever be. The
Mekes really want to rip the doors of perception off their hinges. More importantly,
there's nothing punky or rocky about the mournful, elegiac quality that Susic
Honeyman's violin and Sally Timms' Deitrich-from-hell voice lend to the band.
The pair are especially effectivce on chilly laments like ,,Noctume" or ,,I Am
Crazy" - and tonight Timms once again demonstrates her status as the thinking
man's ice goddess. lt's hard to believe that a woman who wears blue sequinned
hotpants can sound so chilling.
The ,,Curse" LP is a bleak and forbidding affair, but tonight many of its songs
seem far more approachable. The splendidly-titled ,,Blue Arse" is scathing and
rousing, and ,,Brutal" is both a thing of beauty and a caustic polemical diatribe.
The Mekons are fully alive and kicking harder than ever. Hear them and feel your
The Ducchess of York, Leeds, (Melody Maker, 29-02-92)
In many people's eyes, the frequently reviled Cud should be exactly where they
are right at this minute: propping up the bill and playing to a handful of early
comers on a windswept winter's night. Fortunatly, though, their lowly status tight
doesn't indicate a sudden downturn in their popularity, but a surprise appearance
to try out same new songs. It's not a bad idea. Devoid of their usual exuberant
audience, Cud arc forced to stand alone, and mighty fine figure they cut too,
Carl Puttnam's girth and ,,Burger King" teeshirt notwithsanding. Long gone is
the student funk of yore, the band now veering (with an eye upon America?) towards
an unholy collision of Led Zeppelin and the Fatback Band. Still, for those of
you who can't possibly contemplate the idea of a Cud with axe solos, it's nice
to repart that at least three of the new songs attempted end in an ignoble shambles.
Cud are still the Great White Hopeless.
This must be the 352nd time I've encountered The Mekons and I still don't recognise
half the line-up. Kevin's long gone, of course, but who is that new (old) drummer?
Moving swiftly on, the band kick off with a tremendous ,,Rock'n' Roll", but slowly
thef ire subsides as surely as Sally Timms' wig slips down her face.
Sally, y'see, has decided to ,,parody" the blond-mapped rock chick, but has ended
up looking like Stevie Nicks (as she is now, unfortunately), and the crowd aren't
slow to spot this, to her considerable annoyance. Timms' visage uncannily mirrors
tonight's set: old wine in, well, old bottles. The new songs sound like punk retreads,
and the edge is as absent as the (once customary) politics. Love the band. Hated
But maybe I'm just pissed off cos they didn't play "Lonely And Wet".