The packed out crowd at the Lewes Con Club tonight witnessed the rare spectacle of an evening in the company of the original 1977-1980 line-up of The Mekons, known currently as The Mekons 77.
The Mekons formed in Leeds in the late 1970s as an art collective and are one of the longest-running and most prolific of the first-wave British punk rock bands, although during that time they have moved across many music genres.
Through the years, The Mekons musical style has evolved, incorporating aspects of country music, folk music, alternative rock and even occasional experiments with dub. The band has experienced several changes in line-up since their formation over 40 years ago, and although the current line-up of ‘Mekons’ are writing and recording music, playing shows and touring, the original ‘The Mekons 77’ have reunited and are playing live shows for a limited time and the Lewes gig is one of those.
The band were responsible for the totally epic ‘Where Were You?” single which has truly stood the test of time – I never got bored of it. If anything I have always felt that it was just never long enough and I would immediately pick the needle up and place it at the start of my prized 7” vinyl and listen again, oh and errr again.
The six-piece politically and socially aware Mekons 77 are more like a collective on stage rather than a solid band, having been off on their own separate projects. It feels that they got together for the fun of it, for possibly one last tour and one last album – ‘It Is Twice Blessed’. As the singer stated at the Lewes gig tonight, that it was probably the punters last chance to see them as by the fiftieth anniversary they might be dead. This was typical of the bands sense of irony and humour. [ . . . ]
It’s now over four decades since a group of wayward youths broke into a quiet Galashiels cottage, earning themselves a footnote in Borders musical history.
THE SOUTHERN REPORTER :: In the 1970s, there was nothing unusual about housebreaking sadly, unemployment being high and there being little in the way of entertainment for the disenfranchised young.
This break-in was unusual, however. Nothing was stolen, but these youths, in the eyes of some, were more dangerous to society than mere petty criminals as these were punk rockers, regarded by many as a threat to the old order, and they were here to record one of the most pivotal punk records of the 1970s, having travelled all the way up from Leeds to do so. Their recording would become the first 7in release on the influential Edinburgh label Fast Product. It was not only set to create a blueprint for the emerging post-punk genre but also to inspire a generation of misfit Scottish youths to believe they too, regardless of ability or class could become pop stars, albeit in their own unique way.
The Mekons, the unkempt bunch of Leeds University art students responsible for that single, Never Been in a Riot, being reissued next month, are now regarded as one of the most visionary groups of their era and would later combine punk with politics, country and folk [ . . . ]
In his 40 years of making music, Jon Langford has earned a reputation for not doing things by the book. That applies most notably to the Mekons, a band the Welsh native cofounded in Leeds in the late 70s, whose sound has evolved over the decades from rudimentary punk to a dark, strange melange of rock, folk, country, and even reggae. In 1984 they played a series of benefits for striking coal miners, whose communities were being starved by Margaret Thatcher’s decision to close many UK mines—a burst of activity that produced their early masterpiece Fear and Whiskey. When the Mekons went on their first U.S. tour in 1986, it was a a revelation for Langford. “Starting as a teenager, there was a longing for America and wanting to go there and wanting to find out things about it,” he says. [ . . . ]