Square Roots Festival: Mekons, Feufollet, Plena Libre, Nora Jane Struthers & the Party Line, and others | Lincoln between Montrose and Wilson | Fairs & Festivals | Chicago Reader

Square Roots Festival: Mekons, Feufollet, Plena Libre, Nora Jane Struthers & the Party Line, and others All Ages Soundboard Recommended Image

When: Fri., July 10, 5 p.m. 2015

Cultivated in the anarchic soil of the Leeds University art scene in the late 70s—the same funk-punk incubator that hatched Gang of Four and Delta 5—the Mekons were a coterie of visual artists, writers, thinkers, and rabble-rousers who thrived not on the mechanics of music but on its potential as a platform for wild ideas. (Gang of Four drummer Hugo Burnham described early gigs as “complete art-noise chaos,” according to Simon Reynolds’s self-congratulatory account of the postpunk movement Rip It Up and Start Again.) But even as Lester Bangs declared the Mekons “the most revolutionary group in the history of rock ’n roll” in the liner notes of the 1982 singles collection The Mekons Story, the band, led by Jon Langford and Tom Greenhalgh, broke up. They re-formed the group a couple of years later with a new interest in British folk and American country music as well as some new bandmates, including vocalist Sally Timms, whose breathy singing drives an iconic track like “Millionaire.” “Memphis, Egypt,” off the band’s 1989 album The Mekons Rock ’n’ Roll, remains the collective’s most enduring anthem, highlighting their knack for melding hooks, intellect, and a knowing wink—in this case a not-so-subtle critique of the music industry. On top of this slot at the Square Roots festival, the aging punks deliver four Chicago performances over the course of a week, including two at the Hideout and an acoustic set at the Poetry Foundation. —Erin Osmon 8:45 PM set time. See our Square Roots Festival sidebar.

Price: $10 suggested donation, $5 suggested donation for seniors and kids, $20 suggested donation for families

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