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The Mekons & Alternative TV

Saturday, 5 August 2017 - 7:30pm
This is an amazing double-header featuring two of the finest acts to emerge from the 77 UK punk explosion, Mekons and Alternative TV, both instrumental in mapping out the path from punk to post-punk.  
 
MEKONS
 
 
Formed in the late 1970s as an art collective, Mekons are one of the longest-running and most prolific of the first-wave British punk bands.  The band's musical style has evolved through the years, incorporating aspects of country and folk and, like ATV, occasional experiments with dub.  
 
In 1977 Mekons emerged from the same group of Leeds University students that also produced Gang of Four and Delta 5, taking their name from The Mekon, an evil, super-intelligent Venusian from the Dan Dare comic strip.  The band's first release was "Never Been in a Riot", a satirical take on The Clash’s White Riot.  Next single ‘Where Were You?’ became a punk classic and has been covered many times over the years.
 
The loose-knit band played noisy, bare-bones post-punk releasing records on a variety of labels, including a brief stint on Virgin Records for their first album, ‘The Quality of Mercy is not Strnen’, a bastardised Shakespeare quotation, which famously included a cover showing a bemused  chimpanzee in front of a typewriter.  
 
 
After 1982 the band ceased activity for a while, with drummer Jon Langford forming The Three Johns.  In the mid-1980s Mekons were revitalised by the political situation surrounding the 1984 miners’ strike and they returned as an active group with additional members, experimenting with different styles of roots music, English folk and American country, on albums such as ‘Fear and Whiskey’ (85), The Edge of The World (86) and Honky Tonkin (87).  The pull of America became so strong that most of the band decamped to the USA in the early 90s, where they have continued to record and develop a highly devoted following.  
 
 
In 2013 a film documentary, ‘Revenge of the Mekons’ was released and their most recent album, a CD/DVD/book project called ‘Existentialism’ a live album with new songs designed to look like a bootleg, came out in 2016.  Also in 2016 the original Leeds line-up of Mekons,  Jon Langford, Kevin Lycett, Mark White, Andy Corrigan and Tom Greenhalgh, reconvened for a special Manchester show as part of a mini-festival curated by Langford.  
 
This line-up also recently recorded a new album earlier this year and will be appearing at Mekonville, a Mekons festival in Suffolk at the end of July 2017, which will feature sets from many of the different incarnations of the band.
 
We are delighted to have secured a show from the 1977/78 line-up of Mekons for The Continental, a super-rare and not to be missed opportunity to see them in Preston. 
 
ALTERNATIVE TV
 
 
Alternative TV were formed by Mark Perry, the founding editor of Sniffin’ Glue (generally accepted as the first fanzine documenting punk in the UK)  and guitarist and co-songwriter Alex Fergusson and debuted with "Love Lies Limp", a free flexi disc issued with the final edition of Perry’s fanzine.  
 
ATV’s initial run of singles, including ‘How Much Longer’, ‘Action Time Vision’ and ‘Life’ were all pop punk classics, but also included wry commentaries on Perry’s weariness with the punk ‘revolution’ that had energized him and then disappointed him, “How much longer will people wear Nazi armbands and dye their hair?”  The ‘Life After  Life’ single was also notable as one of the first recorded punk experiments with dub, at least 6 months before PIL.  By the time ATV’s debut album ‘The Image Has Cracked’ appeared in 1978, the band were confident enough to present totally off the wall material, kicking off the album with a 10 minute live improv track, ‘Alternatives’ where Perry invited members of the audience to get up on stage and take the mic. 
 
 
ATV’s second album, ‘Vibing Up The Senile Man’ took a more explicitly experimental direction, which alienated both the music press and audiences, but is now regarded as a post punk classic and was reissued in 2016 as part of a comprehensive ATV box set of the early years on Cherry Red.  Perry withdrew further from the second wave of punk trends by playing a tour of free gigs with hippy prog rock band ‘Here and Now’ and evolving ATV into the avant-garde project ‘The Good Missionaries’ and also joining experimental group ‘The Door and The Window.’  
 
In 1981/2 Perry made a brief attempt at a pop crossover with solo album ‘Snappy Turns’ and a reunion with Fergusson for the ATV album ‘Strange Kicks’ before withdrawing from the mainstream again.  
  
Perry reformed ATV in 1985 and since then he’s pursued his vision with various line-ups and varying degrees of success, releasing many ATV albums on various labels, right up to 2003.  Like The Fall during this time, sometimes the later new work was obscured by bootlegs of earlier material.  In 2015 ATV came back into focus with an excellent new album, their first in almost 15 years, ‘Opposing Forces’ that received widespread acclaim.  However, ATV gigs have been thin on the ground as Mark now leads a family life in Cornwall, so we’re delighted to present them at The Continental, the first ATV club show in the North West for some time. 
 
Plus supports TBA!
 
This incredible show comes to The Continental on Saturday 5th August. Doors open at 7.30pm 
 
Tickets £10 advance - available NOW from WeGotTickets, SEE Tickets & Skiddle 
 
Continental bar (01772 499 425) & Action Records (01772 884 772) from next week. 
 
   
 
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