Thirty years have elapsed since the Mekons fired their first missive, Never Been in a Riot, across the bow of the music industry. That single, a plucky, jagged swipe at the Clash, suggested we neednt expect too much from a bunch of scruffy, negligibly talented art students from England. How far can barely tuneful, post-punk satire take you? Turns out, if not to the heights of moneymaking success, then perhaps atop the mantel titled Most Overlooked Band Ever. The long, circuitous route through the musical landscape has been anything but predictable for the always-morphing band. It invented lo-fi in 1982 with The Mekons Story, then moved to America and invented alt-country with Fear and Whiskey in 85. It signed to a major label only to denounce the industry as the devil (Rock n Roll), was subsequently dropped, then continued to get better. Mixing left-wing politics and a scholars worldview with English folk, minimalist county, electronica, white-guy reggae, dub-inflected funk, pub rock, Cajun, Arabic, club groove, art experiments, old-school punk, and spoken-word pieces, the Mekons have trodden a path as exciting as it is enigmatic.
The Trumfio Trio opens.
Tue., July 28, 8 p.m., 2009