Show reports from 1986-1992

Reviews from 1986-1992, Reviews of 1997, Reviews of 1998, Reviews of 1999, Reviews of 2000, Reviews of 2001, Reviews of 2002, Reviews of 2003, Reviews from 2004, Reviews from 2005, Reviews from 2006, Reviews from 2007 Reviews from 2008

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 brain dancing.

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 the gig.
But maybe I'm just pissed off cos they didn't play "Lonely And Wet".


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