11th April | Exchange
Formed in 1977 in Leeds by a group of art students – the same group of students that formed Gang Of Four and Delta 5 – The Mekons are one of the longest-running and most prolific of the first wave of UK punk bands. Named after The Mekon, the evil super-intelligent Venusian from the Dan Dare 1950s-60s comic strip serialised in The Eagle, through the years their angular, melodically abrasive style has grown to incorporate elements of country, folk, alt-rock and dub.
These post-punk cowpunks briefly split in 1982, with original member Jon Langford – who is still in the band – forming The Three Johns – but, revitalised by the Miners’ Strike, they returned in the mid-80s, with additional members: vocalist Sally Timms, violinist Susan Honeyman and ex-Damned member and now also guitarist in PiL, Lu Edmonds.
The band celebrated their 40th year with the Mekonville festival near Ipswich last summer, with both the current line-up and the original 1977 line-up performing. As a result of the festival, a 12-inch split-single was released, with one new song from each of the line-ups. Today the band are scattered around the globe, from Chicago to New York, LA, via Devon, London and Siberia! Jon Langford and Tom Greenhalgh survive from the original line-up.
Expect a smorgasbord of styles, sharp, angular rhythms, a punk ethos and sturdy left-wing politics.
See the video to ‘Ghosts of American Astronauts’ here: