October 3, 2007

I Saw The Best Rock & Roll Band In The World Tonight

That'd be the Mekons, and I wouldn't argue that they are TBR&RBITW these days, but they sure as hell were at the end of the 1980s. It'll take me a while to internalize the show, so this is more of a quickie introduction for those of you who are going "Cripes, what's old Jimmy on about now?"

I will say it was a sobering little experience. I mean the Mekons aren't an actual fulltime rock band now, but an ensemble which re-aggregates every once in a while for a quick tour to keep the franchise alive. This time they are pumping a new album, Natural.

The thing is that they performed the entire show sitting down on chairs arranged in a semi-circle, facing the audience. This kind of emphasized the fact that the tour also commemorates their 30th anniversary. They got together in Leeds in '77, part of the first flowering of Brit punk rock. Thirty years is a long fucking time. I have no idea who The Best Rock & Roll Band In The World is these days, haven't since Sleater-Kinney peaked almost a decade ago, but it's short odds that everyone in it was born after the Mekons were formed.

Oddly for a band whose good live shows have always outnumbered the bad 'uns by at least 2 to 1, the best YouTube clip I found to post here is not a live cut, but one of a few actual music videos the Mekons ever made. It manages to convey the sloppy intensity of the band's live shows.

Is it walking the walk of their literary Marxism, or their semi-anarcho approach to the world, or their secret desire to emulate the Grateful Dead? I dunno, but the band has apparently extended its blessings to fans and let them post a good couple dozen live shows as audio files for listening and downloading. To experience the Mekons at the peak of their powers, you might want to check out the version of "Amnesia" in this 1969 show. Just click that link. See the light gray box at the top of the big window? Scroll down to cut 13 and click on it. Should stream right out of your computer's speakers.

1 comment:

Juan Duque said...

"1969 show"? Still thinking about the dead, i guess?? ha ha

J/K. Thanks for the link to the show!! They ARE the best RNR band!! I got to see them long ago at Central Park in 91 and one of my biggest regrets is no longer being in the right continent at the right time to catch them on this tour. Oh well. Such is life i suppose. Thanks again, Juan D