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Mekons Tour Diary, Episode Three, Where We Thrill Everyone by Playing Like “Utter Bloody Garbage”

A dark and worrying subtext bubbled beneath the sparkle and glamor of our current tour. Last Thursday we were to record an album of brand new songs at Jalopy in Redhook, New York, in front of a willing audience of Mekonceptual participants. Trying to write and rehearse new material on the road is close to impossible, but still the deadline loomed.

This must be the explanation for the sparseness of diary entries, Dear Reader. Apologies. Chronology is not a strong point in our world. So back in time we go, back to dimly recalled events of nearly two weeks ago…

Drummer Steve Goulding was shocked at the sheer competence of our performance at the Square Roots Festival in Chicago. It was the opening night of the tour in front of 3000 people in a parking lot on Lincoln Avenue. “I felt like I was in the wrong band.”  Next night at a sold out show in the tiny Hideout we redeem ourselves to some disappointed fans by being “utter bloody garbage,” according to vocalist Sally Timms. At least, we fuck up the first song royally to the delight of all, before the spectre of our newfound professionalism reasserts itself.

The opening band is called the UnGnomes (strangely healthy looking hardcore punks, average age 17) and they introduce their final song (possibly “Kill Rahm!”) by announcing that the old people will be up next. I accidentally channel too much punk spirit and mosh our accordion player Rico off the side of the stage during our 23rd encore. He is caught by our bass player’s wife and is undamaged, but this is a prelude of things to come!

The next day in St Louis, Rico loses his shoes and has to perform 2 nights later at the Mineral Point Opera house in flip-flops!

But again the chronology blurs. I have not told you about the sit down acoustic night at the Poetry Foundation in Chicago where Susie reads obscure Mekons lyrics in her soft Scottischer brogue and Tom reads from Jude the Obscure before launching into a plaintive version of “Afar and Forlorn” and Lu sings about his little yoyo.

I have also failed to mention our visit to the New Glarus brewery. I have omitted the scholarly tour of historic preservation in Mineral Point, where we sang atonal drones in the bowels of another older disused brewery and bought pottery that we lost, then Rico lost his phone and Sally lost the key to the Hideout and we lost two boxes of DVDs and Lu lost his Eventide reverb pedal…..

Next we head east!

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Jon Langford is a musician, painter and founding member of the Mekons. His most recent record is Here Be Monsters (Bloodshot).

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