It's possible that the only true survivors--emotionally, musically, and politically--of the great initial blast of British punk are the Mekons. The music of their convincing early onslaught has evolved over the last six or so years into an unassailable melange of modern British postpunk and Hank Williams-era C & W, and the result is an extravagantly intellectual brand of something I can only describe as pan-Atlantic electric folk. Yet the Mekons' fearful song-dreams have a disturbingly up-to-the-minute punch, incorporating everything from the fall of the Berlin Wall to (on their recent album Curse of the Mekons) the political abysses of drugs, collaboration, and, oh yes, playing in a rock 'n' roll band. Once so doctrinaire that they wouldn't release albums or even have their picture taken, this self-conscious band now picks its way through the minefield of modern pop merchandising. But they do it with heads held high. Live on a stage, they're one of the great traveling rock 'n' roll circuses; reminding us why they got involved in this mess in the first place: the fun, the hope, the noise. But listen closer and hear their hopeless rant: Meet the New World Order, they cry. Same as the Old World Order. Superhuck and Jonestown open. Tonight, 10 PM, Cabaret Metro, 3730 N. Clark; 549-0203.