Nearly 40 years into their existence (yes, the first version of the group rose out of the University of Leeds in 1977), the Mekons aren’t exactly a band: they’re more a force of nature, a legend continually in the making. Over the years the group has made alt-country stars out of Festival favourites Sally Timms and Jon Langford, who are both often seen playing with their other projects like the Pine Valley Cosmonauts and the Waco Brothers, but no matter how busy they are with other artistic pursuits, the various core members always eventually come home to The Mekons. This year, the line-up is stripped down to its three U.S. members, Jon Langford, Sally Timms and Rico Bell (hence, the mini-mekons moniker).
Musically, with their violins and accordions and mandolins and such, The Mekons are usually deemed “alt-country” or “cowpunk,” and they do have a love of Americana music (with a dose of English folk thrown in for good measure), but The Mekons are more about spirit than genre, and that spirit is pure punk rock. Raucous and arty and political and experimental, the only sure thing about The Mekons is that there are no sure things: the group evolves and plays what they please. It’s been that way for 40 years, and if we’re lucky, it’ll be that way for many, many more.