Rico, Sally and Jon @ Korks Otley May 4th 2012:
“Are you an entertainer?”!
24. Jul 2010 20:00 Cold Dog Soup Club at The Face Bar (acoustic), Reading
Show is up on Dime
26. Jul 2010 20:00 Green Note, Camden, London (acoustic)
A report (spin to 4:47)
31. Jul 2010 20:00 Cabaret Maxime, Lisbon, Portugal
To cut a long story short: Two great shows in Scheer (Germany) and Zürich (Switzerland). On stage: the usual gang of suspects minus Tom, who’s still ill, as they said.
Mekons came to Scheer, which is a small provincial town on the river Danube, by train from Zürich and played just an hour, because of a strict time schedule – Klangbad is a festival, organised by Faust-member Hans Joachim Irmler, who lives and works in Scheer. I couldn’t grab the setlist (hi, Oliver!), but it was a collection of their number ones, starting with „Memphis, Egypt“. Jon did a spectacular dance of „Cockermouth“, crawling in the end over the stage-address-boxes – the audience, among them many young people, loved him, many of them, i’m sure, never had heard of the band before. Some hundred people as audience, and a really big stage from a Mekons-point-of-view.
Next day they lost all their (hand-signed) tour-posters in a chinese restaurant at my hometown Tuttlingen, where they had to change trains on the way to Zürich. I’m still searching. Jon additionally left his acoustic guitar in the train, but it was brought to him right before the concert.
Zürich it was a free concert, because the venue (the pub „El Lokal“ at the river Sihl, called here „Missisihl“ by the insiders) celebrated its tenth birthday with this concert. Stage was a big truck. Right in the middle of the gig some tequilas were handed to the band, and Sally said tot he audience: „You didn’t pay, so we can do what we want – and we’re gonna make a break now for tequila!“.
Setlist as usual; they had to end at about 11 p.m. because of the neighbours. Anyway: It was a perfect evening, the band in good mood, the sound loud and clear, the weather fine, the drinks cool.
And now let’s hope for the new CD.
Not only were the drinks cool, there were plenty of them as well.
Driving the rental car back to Stuttgart the next morning seemed a bit on the illegal side given my condition still, but I made it back safely and was even able to face some solid food again at Suttgart airport. The setlist is still in the bag, will post details asap, likewise some of the pictures, though on a quick review most of them seem to have turned out quite blurry and useless for some reason , that camera was supposed to be foolproof. (or should I just stand still and concentrate on the photography next time ?)
Two great shows indeed. Scheer was interesting to witness, due to the time limit there were more songs and less banter than they usually manage within 60 minutes, I guess It was quite a good overview for the mostly uninitiated audience. Nice to see them on a comparatively large stage for a change, video screen and all.
Zurich was even better, a sunny day and warm evening, being greeted on arrival at the concert site by our man Ferl from Vienna (making his long awaited appearance on this tour), a nice setting, another appreciative audience , good sound, approx 1 h 50 min set, good beer and trains running past midnight… (unlike trains in London town on a Sunday evening….)
Good to see Dieter, Peter and Manuel and Ferl again (Ferl, hopefully see you at the Hafenklang soon, Nine Pound Hammer are apparently scheduled for the Aug 30th ?.)
Finally, thanks to the Mekons for two great long summer weekends. Worth the while, as usual
Videos from Klangbad:
More on Youtube:
07. Aug 2010 20:00 Outside El Lokal, Zurich CH
It’s been a long time since I uploaded a Mekons show. With a little (better say: much) help from my friend Joachim and Kati (who recorded the show) here’s the Mekons at Klangbad Festival in Scheeer, August 6 2010:
THE SIX POINTS
1. A vote for every man over 21
2. Secret ballots
3. No property qualification
4. Payment of MPs
5. Constituencies of equal size
6. Annual Parliaments
The Chartists are oft remembered for their failed uprising in Newport on the 4th of November 1839. An uprising which left its leaders facing execution by the British State. Last weekend a walk across John Frost Square reminded me that radicalism is alive and well in South Wales - here was where local people had recently seen off an attempted rally by the racist English Defence League, the success marked by a celebration of the area’s multiculturalism in music and speech. After the failed uprising, Chartists across the UK and further afield rallied together firstly by supporting the uprising’s leaders in their hopeless legal fight and secondly by successfully petitioning parliament to ensure that the threat of execution of the likes of John Frost was removed. The Chartists were fighting for the “six points”, five of which we now take for granted.
Staring at the “to let” signs adorning the Victorian façade of the Westgate Hotel it almost seems unnecessary to wonder what the Chartists’ struggle was all about and if it was worth the death of 20 poor souls at the hands of Government forces. Would John the Roller of Nantyglo have considered his sacrifice worth it for the drab future of the Westgate Hotel as a “potential leisure venue”? There is definitely an air of post-Thatcherite ravage about the town but that doesn’t stop it from holding up its head in the wan sun of a February Saturday afternoon.
Wales are to play England in their opener of the Six nations Tournament later in the afternoon and Dean Holdsworth’s Newport County face Welling in the Blue Square South. There’s a definite air of expectancy around the bars in town and as the kick off for the rugby nears the streets empty. A mixture of English and Welsh fans take in the match in a strangely incongruous vodka bar and then finally the stage is set for tonight’s entertainment. A short walk away is Da Vinci’s Coffee Shop which tonight is home to a performance by Jon Langford and friends. Da Vinci’s is almost famous for having been one of the Newport locations for Dr Who but tonight its owners want to see what the effect of live music is alongside their rather marvellous pizza oven. We tested both and were well pleased.
The word was that it would be a capacity audience so just who would these 70 or so souls be? Newport’s finest it appeared. Anyone with even a passing fair knowledge of the Newport Leviathan would have a lovely time putting names to faces. From “Duke Bacardi” to the ubiquitous Ken Moore things were looking good. Olivia Perry kicked off proceedings and she was followed closely by The Flying Spider Revival. It was like being at a very good party, lots of great conversation from Newport County to AFC Sudbury, discovering that U2 are really a Welsh band (thanks Chrissie) and sitting in the seat where the Doctor repaired K9.
We eventually succumbed to Planet Langford mode whereby Jon gathers round him some trusty sidekicks and he enters into an extended discourse with all and sundry through the mediums of song, wisecrack and bemused observation. The songs did come relatively thick and fast given the opportunity for the other mediums. The band were the perfect foil to Jon’s sparse guitar technique, Guto’s accordion producing a strong basis to lay the two guitars and Ken’s percussion on. There were very few people in the room not singing, as you can see on this video.
Highlights? Well apart from a rather good story about the theft of a copy of Pile Driver which was then exchanged for a pair of jeans by two of Jon’s school pals that lead into the Quo classic “Caroline” (in a week when Quo received their MBEs too) one would be hard pressed not to choose a localised version of the now world famous drinking song “Pil Sailor”. (You had to take a drink every time somewhere in Newport was mentioned). As things roared to a climax, Carlton B Morgan crept onto the stage to add harmonica to the proceedings. Looking none the worse for his recently discovered addiction to Ovaltine, the line up was finally complete.
Jon’s acoustic soirées with his mates are few and far between on these shores so it’s good to take them in at any available opportunity. The quality of the music in Newport has always been noted but when you see it in the flesh it helps you understand a little bit more about the journey Jon has been on, one which still is grounded firmly in his roots. The fact that he can slot in the likes of Guto Dafis beside him shows that he attracts quality and the use of Julian Hayman as a key part of the overall instrumental and vocal sound turns the show around. Ken Moore provided far more than a range of percussion, and not just a straight man for Jon’s comic asides. He knows where his friend is coming from (and if he didn’t he could always have asked Jon’s mam who was in the audience, ready to back up her son’s more outrageous claims to fame).
I’d love to see a similar line-up again mainly because evenings of this calibre require more than just the constituent parts, they need a shimmering, showering of magic. Those present were not only witness to that magic but touched by it. As we wandered home we passed a local Estate agents who had a touch screen in the window display. You were encouraged to tell them how good their service had been. We did, rather a lot of times, probably screwing up their consumer research on the way. They would have been more pleased had they added a question along the lines of “did you enjoy Newport tonight?”
There are some shows from Hamburg and Bremen on Dime:
One of the most interesting festivals of the year must be the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass. It’s a free concert in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park. This year Rosie Flores hit the stage along with Jon Langford and Rico Bell of the Mekons plus Canada’s Sadies.
Thanks to Christina Boggs (see her blog) we have a video on youtube and some pictures on Flickr.
Watch them perform ‘Who’s gonna take the garbage out’ and see the pics here.
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