Wednesday, September 28, 2016

The Mekons at American Legion Post 206, 9-27-16 Concert Review

The Mekons performing "Diamonds"
Though The Mekons have been around for decades, I wasn’t turned on to them until I saw the documentary film Revenge Of The Mekons last year. I completely fell in love with the band while watching that film. The day after I watched it, I went to the local CD store with the intention of purchasing every single CD The Mekons had ever put out (with maybe one exception). But while there was a spot for Mekons CDs, the store didn’t have any discs, and said they don’t stock them. The card with the band’s name was just a tease. No matter. I was traveling to Boston soon, and certainly Newbury Comics would have at least a few of the band’s albums in stock. Nope. Same story. A spot for the discs, but nothing in stock, and nothing they were able to order. What gives? The Mekons are one of the best bands around, and yet their albums are not readily available. When I learned they’d be doing a show in Los Angeles, I figured it was finally my chance – not only to see this fantastic band perform live, but also to pick up some of their CDs at the merchandise table. They had two discs with them, and I bought both.

They took the stage at 10:14 p.m. Noticing the Sex Stains’ set list, which was still on one of the monitors, Sally Timms said, “I wish we were doing a song called ‘Sex On The Subway.’” But instead, they launched into “Memphis, Egypt,” a kick-ass start to their set, with the audience singing along. After “Beaten And Broken,” they joked about the vocal microphone levels, and about the sound in the monitors. Jon Langford teased: “If there’s any accordion in the monitors, please take it out. No one wants to hear that.” He then introduced “Tina” by saying: “This is for the ghost of Margaret Thatcher. May she be tormented in hell for all time.” The crowd laughed and cheered, and laughed also at the first lines of that song, “It looks like an accident/Caused by the government.”

After “Millionaire,” Jon picked up the set list, joking how it’s a bit difficult to read grey print on grey paper. “Diamonds” had a false start, with Sally saying, “I don’t need any reverb.” Yeah, more sound issues, with a ringing in the monitors. “Heaven And Back” was a lot of fun, but oh shit, Jon, don’t kick me in the head. Ah, the dangers and thrills of being right up in the front at a Mekons concert. After “Fantastic Voyage,” someone in the audience asked, “Where is Sarah?” That led to Jon introducing the bass player and much of the rest of the band. When they started “The Curse,” there was a big cheer from the audience. But hey, Jon, don’t hit me in the head with your guitar. (Don’t worry, he didn’t actually hit me with his guitar, or kick me, but he certainly came close several times.) They ended the set with “Hard To Be Human Again.”

For the encores, they chose two songs from early in the band’s career: “Never Been In A Riot” (which was an answer to The Clash’s “White Riot”) and “Where Were You,” these two being the first singles released by the band back in 1978. I wonder if they might have done a few more tunes had the venue had air conditioning. I know by the end of the show, sweat was just pouring down my entire body, and it must have been even worse for the band. Several options of encores were included on the set list on stage, and the only one of those they played was “Where Were You.” “Never Been In A Riot” apparently wasn’t planned, and was a total treat.

Set List
  1. Memphis, Egypt
  2. Beaten And Broken
  3. Tina
  4. Millionaire
  5. Diamonds
  6. Abernant 1984/5
  7. Heaven And Back
  8. Fantastic Voyage
  9. (Sometimes I Feel Like) Fletcher Christian
  10. Orpheus
  11. Now We Have The Bomb
  12. Last Dance
  13. The Curse
  14. Hard To Be Human Again
  1. Never Been In A Riot
  2. Where Were You
The show ended at 11:25 p.m. Here are a few photos from the set:

"Memphis, Egypt"
introducing "Millionaire"
Jon with the set list
introducing "Heaven And Back"
Now that I’ve seen them in concert, I wish even more that someone had turned me onto them earlier. They’re phenomenal. Just think of all the shows I could have seen over the years. Oh well. I don’t intend to miss such an opportunity again. 

American Legion Hall Post 206 is located at 227 N. Avenue 55 in the Highland Park section of Los Angeles. Tickets for this show were $15.


  1. Thanks for the review & photos! Seeing them tomorrow in SF... very excited... first one was in '86! Many excellent albums - find 'em on discogs.