Two Mekons, One New Band, and a Rare Desert Appearance

By Kevin Bone


on Langford. vocalists, guitarist and a founding member of the Mekons, is set to perform in town with his latest musical project, “Jon Langford and The Bright Shiners.” Adding to the bill will be musical cohort Sally Timms (also of Mekons’ fame), who will join Langford to perform some of their iconic songs acoustically.

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Photo by Richard Malpas

The Curse Of The Mekons

Haven’t heard of the Mekons? Neither had I until a good friend insisted I join him for a show at The Knitting Factory in New York City’s East Village. Despite their talent, the Mekons struggled with recognition, partly because they defied easy categorization. Originating as a punk band from an art collective, they evolved into something unique—an amalgamation of rock and roll influences that defied simple labels. Their live shows were an eclectic mix of styles, featuring eight musicians with several taking turns as vocalists. At that time the Mekons had just released their eighth studio album, “Rock And Roll,” and they seemed to be finally start to gain some attention.

A New Fan

Not five minutes into this performance I was hooked. I had been a live music fanatic for over a decade, but by the end of this show in 1989 I had crowned The Mekons my new favorite live band. Their eclectic mix of rock and roll, coupled with smart and whimsical lyrics, gritty energy, and great hooks, set them apart. Not only that, the between-song banter between Jon Langford and Sally Timms was hysterical. My face hurt from laughing, my legs were sore the next day from dancing.

A Mekons’ Fan is a Dedicated Fan

After that, I went to see them every chance I had. I was not alone. Their live performances were magnetic, drawing fans who would drive hours to see them. Even though the band members were spread across the U.S. and the U.K., their sporadic tours were must-see events for their devoted followers.

Not Just a Mekon

Like others in the band, Langford and Timms have both engaged in multiple projects outside the Mekons. Sally Timms has a solo country western album and has collaborated with The Sadies. At 19, she worked with Pete Shelley of the Buzzcocks on an improvised film score. Jon Langford is involved in numerous projects, including The Waco Brothers. His creative endeavors span music, theater, and painting… he recently showcased some of his artwork at a group show in Rancho Mirage.

A Special Performance in Wonder Valley

Lucky for us, Jon Langford is bringing his latest music project, “Jon Langford and the Bright Shiners,” to our neck of the desert, The Palms in Wonder Valley (15 minutes East of downtown Twentynine Palms). This acoustic four-piece band features Langford on vocals and guitar, Alice Spencer on vocals and Mellotron, Tamineh Gueramy on vocals and violin, and John Szymanski on guitar (Szymanski is also a member of the “Mini-Mekons,” an acoustic, abbreviated version of the Mekons featuring Langford and Timms that performed at The Palms last year). Sally Timms will also perform, reuniting with Langford for a set that promises to be as delightful as their storied past performances. Expect their signature banter, which alone is worth the price of admission.

Photo by Richard Malpas

Event Details

Catch Jon Langford and the Bright Shiners, with special guest Sally Timms, on Saturday, June 8th, at 7 pm, in the intimate back room at The Palms in Wonder Valley. Tickets are $22.50 and available through EventBrite. Seating is limited.

Venue: The Palms, 83131 Amboy Road, Twentynine Palms, 92277. Food and a full bar are available. For more information, call (310) 920-4804.

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