The Mekons, New York, October 3, 2007 – old, boozy, heartbreaking, and beautiful

yeah, they’re old – so old they had to perform sitting down

or so drunk

With Jon Langford swigging from a tequila bottle on stage and Sally Timms bitterly commenting “where are they – getting more to drink? as if they haven’t had enough already” in her inimitable clipped British voice, dripping w/sarcasm in between every song, the Mekons showed up, barely,
performing “Dark, Dark, Dark” and similar from their new album The Natural amid their wild and gorgeous old beauties.

Standouts included “Fletcher Christian” and an aching “Ghosts of American Astronauts,” on which Sally Timms’ otherworldly voice seemed to call up every romantic, doomed, and tender barroom ghost in NY, if not those of american astronauts and “Nixon sipping a dry martini”. And “Fall in Love” was a sweet treat amid the drunking crotch-thrusting of Jon, who simultaneously evoked a “fuck you I’m British” attitude, a drunken uncle embarrassing the youngsters w/his oddly sexual hip moves, and a brilliant, brilliant dancer.

Tom Greenhalgh was a narrow, loose-limbed drunken spectre, with pointy chin and Sinatra fedora, recalling at the same time Fred Astaire and some guy in the Blarney Rose. And his voice was a beautiful thing.

Rico Bell, handsome as ever, called up a few ironic disco/Tom Jones poses as his accordion rollicked and wheezed; Steve Goulding did great duty on the bongos and commode (the wooden box that provided most of the percussion).

While Jon called out for Satan and Sally noted, “nope – not allowed in America any more; no more visas, won’t be seeing him there again” and the faithful crowd hollered “Fuck the Mekons!” the show was a sprawling, boozy lovefest.

It couldn’t help but remind me w/a shiver of some of the later Pogues shows I saw. The toll was that high. But the wild British socialists and fuck-it-all anarchists who brought us Fear and Whiskey in 1985, The Edge of the World and Honky Tonkin’ in the space of three years – they showed up, after all.

for some really GREAT pix, check out http://flickr.com/photos/twi-ny/sets/72157602263146743/

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