One for Friday: The Mekons, “Only Darkness Has the Power”


Back when I was a bratty twentysomething going to scruffy concerts in Madison, Wisconsin, I would occasionally look around and my fellow attendees and wonder about the older folks who were amongst the crowd, holding their own plastic cup beers and bobbing their heads along to the beat. I was so certain that spending nights in ramshackle rock clubs was a young person’s game that these folks with graying temples and developing crow’s feet seemed out of place to me. I didn’t begrudge them their place on the floor, but that place on the trajectory of a life was distant enough from mine that I had a hard time wrapping my head around it. They were surely dads and moms with daytime responsibilities: kids to get off to school, yards to mow. Sure, they might splurge on a babysitter for the occasional Billy Joel arena show, but seeing an obscure band that appealed to me and my crew? It baffled me.

Of course, most of those targets of my sidelong glances were probably younger than I am now. And here I am — Chucks on my feet, inadequately warm leather jacket pulled on, beer in hand — back to attending shows at some of the same clubs I was going to some twenty years ago, gray at my own temples. Now officially new in town, at least there are opportunities seemingly designed to help ease nostalgic old geezers like myself back into the scene, like edging through an airlock on the way to a deeply challenging environment. A couple members of the old Madison band the Weeds, rock ‘n’ roll hooligans I’ve featured in this space once or twice, announced that they were joining with a few cohorts of the local music scene to form the one-off supergroup the Wekons. As might be surmised, the intent was to pay tribute to the legendary indie band the Mekons, playing a set of nothing but covers, most of them from about the same era the Weeds were actively plying their trade. Compounding the comfort for geezers like me, the show was scheduled nice and early. We’d be done with our creaky rocking and rolling by eight o’clock at night.

All in all, it felt like home. And when they played “Only Darkness Has the Power,” my appreciation for everything about the moment lapsed into something close to giddiness.

Listen or download –> The Mekons, “Only Darkness Has the Power”

(Disclaimer: I’ve been here before with music off of this particular Mekons record. I believe it to be out of print, at least as a physical item that can be procured from your favorite local, independently-owned record store in such a manner as to duly compensate both the proprietor of said store and the original artist. However, I will gladly and promptly remove this track from my little corner of the interweb if asked to do so by any individual or entity with due authority to make such a request.)

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