When: Tue., Oct. 4, 8 p.m. 2011
The lower right corner of the cover of Ancient & Modern (Sin/Bloodshot), the first new Mekons album in four years, bears the dates "1911-2011." The songs are (at least in theory) set in the Edwardian era, a brief period during which the wealthy reveled in excess across much of industrialized Europe, indifferent to the unraveling of the society that supported them; eventually the widening inequality between the haves and have-nots exploded in Sarajevo in 1914. Not only do we not remember that history, the band seems to be saying, but we seem to be about to repeat it. Some of the songs here reach toward older styles: Sally Timms sings "Geeshie," inspired by 1930s blues artist Geeshie Wiley, with jazz-age melodic sophistication, and Tom Greenhalgh's "I Fall Asleep" is full of plaintive parlor-room piano. Such excursions are all in a day's work for the Mekons, which is another way of saying that no matter which way they cast their net, their postpunk post-roots rock always sounds like itself—which is a very good thing. Tonight the band will play acoustic, and before the music starts they'll throw their own Pecha Kucha night, which they're calling Meekakucha. ("Pecha Kucha" refers to a freewheeling, rapid-fire presentation style where each participant speaks to 20 slides, each shown for 20 seconds.) I haven't heard much about what they'll be doing, but accordionist Rico Bell is rumored to be giving a brief lecture on "various breeds of pigs, real and imagined." Wednesday's Lincoln Hall show will be electrified. —Peter Margasak See also Wednesday.