Mekons related articles from CT pt.1
MEKONS PUT ON A PLAY THIS TIME, IT'S THE BAND AS PIRATES * 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").