Mekons, Mar Caribe | Schubas | Rock, Pop, Etc | Chicago Reader

Mekons, Mar Caribe Recommended Early Warnings (Music) Soundboard Critics' Picks

When: Thu., July 30, 7 p.m. 2009

In “Perfect Mirror,” the song that closes their most recent album, Natural (Quarterstick), the Mekons invoke a looming mountain, unchanging and unconcerned with human affairs, as they ponder ancient pagan ceremonies that have lost their meaning. With 32 years of history as a band, they have plenty of practice taking the long view, and they’ve needed it. They’ve been ill-handled by record companies big and small, and even the shelter of scout’s-honor-honest Touch and Go has proved impermanent—this spring, when the label downsized its operations, their almost-finished new album was orphaned. But despite their utter failure as a business, the Mekons have always cheerily carried on—they were founded as an art project and function like a family, so they’ve never expected to make any money. And they’ve always rocked—YouTube videos of an English gig in April provide the most recent evidence. Elements of country, folk, and reggae color their songs, and their lyrics (accompanied in print by quotes from the likes of Isaac Newton and Ben Hecht) challenge the status quo, but it’s the way the band’s singers swap places over big blasts of cranked-up punk guitars that makes me want to dance around the old stone idol one more time. One of those singers, Tom Greenhalgh, won’t make it to tonight’s show—likely the Mekons’ only Chicago date this year—but Jon Langford and Sally Timms will lead a host of old hands and special guests in a set they promise will include songs from the new record. Mar Caribe opens. The Mekons also play a free in-store at Raffe's Record Riot (4350 N. Cicero) at 3:45 PM. —Bill Meyer

Price: $20

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