Mekons @ Calgary Folk Festival
Truly a nice read. So I thought you should have it
Unbound. Unfound, though not for lack of trying. After all, this is the band that gave high-priest critics like Greil Marcus (“they still play as if they are discovering their music”) and Lester Bangs (“the most revolutionary group in the history of rock and roll”) wet dreams.
Formed in 1977 as a self-described art project by Leeds university students, the Mekons suckled punk’s nipple while members stumbled in and out of the collective, taking winking jabs at the bands like The Clash while dancing on, and often tripping over, sumptuous chaos. Following their hearts rather than trends with members dispersed across continents, they drank mescal dreams of Hank Williams, took day jobs and bought third-hand touring vans to create a whole damn mud, spit and dirt superhighway, which major label deals unsuccessfully tried to pave. The Mekons’ bottomless rampancy is occasionally acknowledged by the mainstream, like when the documentary Revenge of The Mekons was worshipped by big media outlets in 2013, or when one of their oldest songs “Where Were You?” turned up in a car commercial in 2016.
Many of their catchy, anthemic songs sound like natural-born hits, but they spring from a band that doesn’t follow formulas or colour inside the lines — they do whatever they want, following a thread of passion, humour and love of the underdog. Flowing from rousing, can’t-shut-my-mouth sing-along choruses to spare and emotional musical moments in a single verse, the Mekons go wherever they want in their quest to uncover the prosaic poetry of our lives. Do yourself a favour — go with them.