Mekons related articles from CT pt.1

* Greg Kot.09/19/97
Chicago Tribune
(Copyright 1997).LP
In one of the Mekons' best songs, "Sorcerer," the abyss
beckons in the form of Tom Greenhalgh's eerie, incantatory vocal.
Only the band doesn't fret; instead, the music dances on the edge
of chaos, as though emboldened by its proximity.
 With the Mekons you take the good with the godawful,
sometimes within the space of a song. They're punk-era veterans who
have dabbled in everything from hard-core country (before there was
such a thing as an insurgent country movement) to techno (before
techno was "cool"). This weekend, the odds are we'll get a little
of everything because the Mekons are putting on their version of a
,school play, Friday through Sunday at the Museum of Contemporary
Art (312-397-4010), with the local premiere of their collaborative
performance-art piece with author Kathy Acker, "Pussy, King of the     Pirates."
They've got painted scenery and pretty lights and costumes to
make them look like pirates and milkmaids. Acker will read from her
taboo-smashing novel and the Mekons -- a band whose membership
seems to encompass half the punks, lapsed art students and pub
philosophers who ever lived in Leeds, England, the last 20 years --
will perform songs from the "Pussy" soundtrack, released last year
on the Quarterstick label.
"There will be a cast of thousands," says Mekons co-founder
Jon Langford, who now lives in Chicago. "We found plenty of Mekons
past and present who wanted to dress up. There will be lots of
cheap vaudeville routines, bad makeup, bawdy jokes, screaming and
shouting -- audience participation will be encouraged."
Greenhalgh, the other original Mekon, says Acker's book
prompted the Mekons to "think a lot about what pirates meant
historically, how there were these pirate communities that truly
were free spaces," and how that relates to the limits placed on
freedom in supposedly free societies today.
"It's got this nursery rhyme quality to it," says Langford of
the Acker-Mekons collaboration. "But if you listen closely to some
nursery rhymes, there's a deeply disturbing undercurrent."
Which means that the Mekons and Acker are kindred spirits? "I
wouldn't push that one too far," Greenhalgh says. "In different
areas, we probably are. What's more apparent to me is that people
like Kathy are not out there alone in some of their beliefs."
The Mekons will follow the Saturday performance of "Pussy"
with a 20th anniversary concert, in which they may preview material
from a forthcoming album that they're recording in Chicago at
Kingsize studios.
Moonlighting Mekons
The Waco Brothers (a sextet that includes Mekons Langford and
Steve Goulding) will headline a showcase for punk-country label
Bloodshot at the Metro on Sept. 27. Also on the bill are Mekons
Sally Timms and Rico Bell, performing material from their
Bloodshoot solo releases, and local twang-core merchants Moonshine
Willy. The Wacos have a new EP, "Do You Think About Me?"
(Bloodshot), with liner notes nearly worth the price of admission,
a brisk romp through Neil Young's nasty white-trash militia-bashing
1974 obscurity "Revolution Blues" ("Well, it's so good to be here
asleep on your lawn") and, amid all the loose and rowdy yucks, some
genuine honky-tonk heartbreak ("You don't know how bad it feels to
be back here again," sings Dean Schlabowske in his best Merle
Haggard baritone on "South Bend").

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