REVENGE OF THE MEKONS charts the unlikely career of the genre-defying collective notorious for being--as rock critic Greil Marcus notes--"the band that took punk ideology most seriously." ...
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REVENGE OF THE MEKONS charts the unlikely career of the genre-defying collective notorious for being--as rock critic Greil Marcus notes--"the band that took punk ideology most seriously." Born out of the 1977 British punk scene, the Mekons progressed from a group of socialist art students with no musical skills to the prolific, raucous progeny of Hank Williams. Joe Angio's exuberant documentary follows their improbable history - a surprising and influential embrace of folk and country music, forays into the art world and consistent bad luck with major record labels. Featuring interviews with celebrated fans, from author Jonathan Franzen to film director Mary Harron to comedian/musician Fred Armisen, REVENGE OF THE MEKONS reveals how, four decades into an ever-evolving career, punk's reigning contrarians continue to make bold, unpredictable music while staying true to the punk ethos.
A sweet and entertaining film about the 35 year history of a lovable punk band.
If my review title sounds full of contradictions, welcome to the odd world of The Mekons, who started in the late 1970s as art student punks who knew almost nothing about music, only to slowly integrate folk music, American country and western and other influences in with their slowly but steadily growing musicianship, and their passionate politics.
They've never gotten rich or famous, but they have put out a treasure trove of recordings full of their love of music and crazily mixed up musical ideas. These are people who are in it for the joy of playing, touring, and communicating with their passionate if limited audience, not money or adoration. And if they're well into middle age and still traveling around in a shabby van, that doesn't seem to stop them from enjoying the adventure and still loving the music. In fact, the film makes the argument that the lack of 'success' and its trappings may be what has kept them together and kept them going: Friends making music for friends.
They're also an intelligent, articulate, funny and likable lot, full of self-deprecating humor about themselves and their accomplishments in a way we rarely think of rock musicians.
I didn't really know the Mekons before seeing this film. Now I like them and want to really get to know their music. That's a pretty good endorsement of a rock-documentary.
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