Posts Tagged ‘ Jon Langford ’

Jon Langford, Jean Cook and Walter Salas-Humara: December 17, 2016 – Private Residence in Brooklyn

January 14, 2017

neild reports:
In a bookend to his February 2016 acoustic gig/art show at a private apartment in Brooklyn, Jon Langford closed out the year with another performance at the same venue. This time he brought along not just his guitar and violnist/vocalist extraordinaire Jean Cook (plus lots of his inimitable paintings and prints, which did a brisk business), but also Silos cofounder Walter Salas-Humara. The pair of country-punk pioneers swapped songs while adding guitar and improvised percussion to each other’s songs — on one track Langford started out drumming with brushes on his guitar back, before breaking for a drum solo played on his own butt — perfectly melding Langford’s sardonic tales of blasé drone operators and Irish fishing villages still reliving the decades-only filming of Moby Dick with Salas-Humara’s ballads of pot smuggling and doomed romance. It was as stripped down as punk rock, or music in general, can be, and further cemented Langford’s role as one of the world’s most seriously funny, and comically serious, artists, while providing a welcome reminder that really all that’s needed for great music are a couple of instruments and an appreciative crowd willing to join in on the choruses.

As with the February show, there was no amplification, so this was recorded with the same CA-14 cardioid mics (mounted on a stand this time instead of sitting on the floor, as the space was slightly less cheek to jowl); when it sounds like the performers have wandered off into another part of the room at one point, that’s exactly what’s happened. Thanks to Jon and Walter and Jean, and to Jon Raaen for hosting us all again at his apartment. Next time, with less snow on the ground for once!

Download the Complete Show in MP3 or FLAC format at [HERE]

Stream the Complete Show (via

Jon Langford and Jean Cook
Private Residence
Brooklyn, NY

CA-14 cardioid mics > Church Audio ugly battery box > Sony PCM-M10 > WAV (24/48) > Sound Studio (light dynamic compression to reduce loud claps and percussion) > FLAC (16/44.1) > Tag > FLAC

Recorded and mastered by neil d

Early Set:
01 Over the Cliff
02 Millionaire
03 The Country Is Young
04 Tubby Brothers
05 Counting on You
06 The Sunshine and the Moon
07 Shitload of Cash
08 The Sounds Next Door
09 Sentimental Marching Song
10 Hank Williams Must Die
11 Youghal
12 Streets of Your Town (Go-Betweens cover)

Late Set:
13 second set
14 Summer Stars
15 Drone Operator
16 Walking on Hell’s Roof
17 Satellite
18 Diner by the Train
19 Nashville Radio
20 Homburg
21 Commodore Peter

Check out more on Langford’s many forms of art at the terrific site maintained by Nobby Knape, or just wait around long enough, and he’ll probably show up in some guise or another.

Waco Brothers: April 13, 2016 Union Hall

April 25, 2016


Correspondent NeilD writes:

The Waco Brothers may be credited as the godfathers of “insurgent country” — they were set to release the first single on Chicago’s Bloodshot Records back in 1995 until it turned out some members were out of town, leaving Waco co-frontman Jon Langford to go it alone — but their influences have always been far broader than just taking classic country and infusing it with punk energy. A quick perusal of their nine-album oeuvre turns up covers of songs by Johnny Cash and Roy Acuff, sure, but also Neil Young, Gram Parsons, T. Rex, and even Syd Barrett-era Pink Floyd; their latest and first full album in more than ten years, “Going Down in History,” matches a strong set of typically astringent originals with covers of both Texas cowpunk pioneer Jon Dee Graham (“Orphan Song”) and the Small Faces (“All or Nothing”), with the album dedicated to the latter’s keyboard player Ian McLagan, who died a little over a year ago.

The Wacos were born and raised in tiny Chicago bars (the original genesis of the band was as a way for Jon and fellow guitarist/vocalist Dean Schlabowske to earn free drinks), which made the Brooklyn stop on this tour altogether appropriate: With its stated 100-person capacity stretched to the breaking point and the volume cranked up way past 11, Union Hall was sweaty and ear-shattering throughout this hour-and-a-half set. Highlights included an outstanding “Walking on Hell’s Roof” from 2000’s Electric Waco Chair — with a blistering violin solo courtesy of guest Waco and frequent Langford collaborator Jean Cook — plus a healthy sampling of songs from the new album, including Schlabowske’s hauntingly catchy “Receiver,” Tracey Dear channeling the Clash’s Mick Jones more than ever on “Had Enough,” and Langford’s “Building Our Own Prison,” with its takedowns of big-box-store culture and Malvina Reynolds-inspired “tick-tack, clackity-clack” refrain. For the encore, drummer Joe Camarillo ceded the drum throne to founding Waco (and longtime Mekon) Steve Goulding, as the band kicked into a song that started out as a mashup of “Pinball Wizard” and “Folsom Prison Blues,” before veering off into those covers of “Interstellar Overdrive” and “20th Century Boy” that were staples of the Wacos live playbook long before showing up on last year’s covers album “Cabaret Showtime.”

The set was recorded with AT-853 mics suspended from the Union Hall ceiling, mixed with a board feed. Huge thanks to Union Hall soundman Alex, to venue booker Shannon Manning (not just for bringing the Wacos to Brooklyn and for her support of NYCTaper but for the timely supply of a chair so I could reach the aforementioned ceiling), and to Langford, Schlabowske, Dear, Camarillo, Cook, and Alan Doughty for reinvigorating the band after a long semi-hiatus.

Download the complete show from its page on the Live Music Archive: [MP3] [FLAC]

Stream the complete show:

Waco Brothers

Union Hall
Brooklyn, NY
April 13, 2016

Soundboard > Sony PCM-M10 > WAV (24/48) + AT853 cardioid mics > SP-SPSB-1 battery box > Sony PCM-M10 > WAV (24/48) > Sound Studio (light dynamic compression and mixing) > FLAC (16/44.1) > Tag > FLAC
Recorded and mastered by neil d

01 intro
02 See Willy Fly By
03 Red Brick Wall
04 Had Enough
05 Receiver
06 Going Down in History
07 Harm’s Way
08 Pigsville
09 Devil’s Day
10 Too Sweet to Die
11 Walking on Hell’s Roof
12 All or Nothing
13 Plenty Tough and Union Made
14 Fox River
15 Building Our Own Prison
16 I Fought the Law
17 Revolution Blues
18 Do You Think About Me
19 Orphan Song
20 White Lightning
21 Big River
22 Pinball Wizard/Folsom Prison Blues/Interstellar Overdrive/20th Century Boy

You can learn more about the Wacos and purchase their albums at:

Jon Langford and Jean Cook: February 13, 2016 Brooklyn House Party

February 24, 2016


Correspondent Neil D writes:

Jon Langford is invariably described as a “renaissance man”: painterauthorradio show hostbathroom-sink sea captain, and performer in more bands than any one person has a right to be in (Mekons, Waco Brothers, Three Johns, Killer Shrews, Bad Luck Jonathan, to name a handful). I consider myself very lucky to live in New York, because though Langford was born in Wales and has lived in Chicago the past two decades, New York is the home of one of his best bands, the Ship and Pilot, consisting of Mekons drummer Steve Goulding, Pere Ubu bassist Tony Maimone, and violinist/singer Jean Cook.

Goulding and Maimone were absent for this show (actually, Goulding was there, but only as an audience member), a house party in someone’s tiny living room in Brooklyn with every available surface covered with Langford prints for sale, leaving Langford and Cook as an acoustic (and entirely unamplified) duo. It was more than enough, because Cook is Langford’s secret weapon: To his country-folk-punk tales of Welsh undertakers and Joseph Stalin penning country-and-western answer songs, she adds harmonies and violin playing that is by turns ethereal and eccentrically creative — one of her other gigs is with the new-music collective Anti-Social Music. On a song like “Youghal,” about the tiny Irish town where Gregory Peck filmed “Moby Dick,” Langford and Cook combine to make you wonder why they would ever need anyone else. (Speaking of renaissance people, Cook is also on the board of the Future of Music Coalition, and the mother of a one-year-old who provides some audience commentary between a couple of songs here.)

Given the stripped-down conditions, this was recorded with a pair of CA-14 cardioid mics placed at the performers’ feet, and pointed straight up at them. The result is, as NYCtaper himself remarked on hearing it, “raw and real and you’re right there.”

Thanks to Jon and Jean, and to Jon Raaen for hosting us all at his lovely home.

Download the complete show: [FLAC] | [MP3]

Jon Langford and Jean Cook
Private Residence
Brooklyn, NY

CA-14 cardioid mics > Church Audio ugly battery box > Sony PCM-M10 > WAV (24/48) > Sound Studio (mild EQ) > FLAC (16/44.1) > Tag > FLAC

Recorded and mastered by neil d

01 [set one]
02 Summer Stars
03 Pill Sailor
04 Tubby Brothers
05 Streets of Your Town [Go-Betweens]
06 Tom Jones Story
07 Youghai
08 The Country Is Young
09 Hank Williams Must Die
10 Sentimental Marching Song
11 [set two]
12 Walking on Hell’s Roof
13 Drone Operator
14 1234ever
15 Diana Story
16 Haunted
17 Homburg
18 Nashville Radio
19 Luxury
20 Tom Jones Levitation

Check out more on Langford’s many forms of art at the terrific site maintained by Nobby Knape, or just wait around long enough, and he’ll probably show up in some guise or another.


Mekons: July 21, 2015 Bowery Ballroom – Flac/MP3/Streaming

July 27, 2015

Mekons Bowery neild
[photo by neild]

It shouldn’t be so long between my Mekons concerts. I’ve seen the band five times over 22 years, generally with 6 or 7 years between shows. The last time was a crazy crowded show at Mercury Lounge in 2009, and before that it was 2007 at Gramercy Theatre, 2000 at Bowery, and 1992 at the Marquee. It isn’t like the band doesn’t deliver — each of these shows were lengthy and highly entertaining trips through the band’s entire catalog. Indeed, Mekons shows are legendary for their remarkable ability to keep the audience engaged through not only the musical performances but the hilarious banter. So much so that the Mekons now have a feature film documentary about them called “Revenge of the Mekons“. The success of the film has translated to increased exposure for the band and the result has been a “sold-out” tour that reached the Bowery Ballroom last week. Bowery was indeed packed with a very boisterous and committed crowd who not only interacted with the band but also indulged some of the unpredictable events possible at any Mekons show. Tonight it was Rico Bell’s unfortunate misplaced high kick during “Heaven and Back” that resulted in him completely wiping out Jon Langford’s amp and other assorted pieces of equipment. For any other band, this kind of clusterfuck would be a disaster, for the Mekons it was a slight blip in the show that ended up being fertile ground for even more hilarious banter. But lest our readers believe this show was messy, this was the tightest and most meticulously performed Mekons show I’ve seen. Indeed, NYCTaper uber contributor and huge Mekons fan neild, who has likely seen the band a few dozen times remarked to me after the concert that this was the best Mekons show he’d ever seen. I had little cause to disagree. The band played everything from 70’s era single “Where Were You?” to tracks from the latest album (2011’s Ancient and Modern) and virtually everything in between. I’ve always loved the 2000 album Journey to the End of the Night (saw the tour) and we’re streaming an incendiary version of “Tina” below. The band’s 80s catalog was also well represented and we’re also streaming an excellent version of Sally Timms’ coined 1988 single “Ghosts of American Astronauts”.

I recorded this set in our usual manner at the Bowery — Schoeps cards in the balcony and mixed with an excellent board feed. Bowery legend Kenny really nailed the mix on this night and the result is one of the best Bowery recordings we’ve ever produced. Enjoy!

Download the Complete Show [MP3] / [FLAC]

Stream “Tina”:

Stream “Ghosts of American Astronauts”:

Bowery Ballroom
New York NY

Digital Master Recording
Soundboard + Audience Matrix

Soundboard [FOH Kenny] + Schoeps CCM4u Cardioids > Sound Devices 744t > 2 x 24bit 48kHz wav files > Soundforge (post-production) > CDWave 1.95 (tracking) > TLH > flac (320 MP3 and tagging via Foobar)

Recorded and Produced by nyctaper

[Total Time 1:55:51]
01 [introduction]
02 Memphis Egypt
03 Beaten and Broken
04 Tina
05 [banter – Mekons tribute band]
06 Millionaire
07 Diamonds
08 [banter – Rehoboth Beach]
09 Abernant 1984-85
10 Heaven and Back
11 [Rico falls]
12 Fantastic Voyage
13 Fletcher Christian
14 Orpheus
15 Now We Have the Bomb
16 Last Dance
17 Curse of the Mekons
18 Hard to Be Human
19 [encore break]
20 I’ve Gone And Lost My Little Yo-Yo
21 [band introductions]
22 Afar and Forlorn
23 Thee Olde Trip to Jerusalem
24 Ghosts of American Astronauts
25 Shanty – Wild and Blue
26 [second encore break]
27 The Hole In The Elephant’s Bottom
28 Powers and Horror
29 Prince of Darkness
30 Belly to Belly
31 Big Zombie
32 Where Were You

If you download this recording from NYCTaper, we expect that you will PLEASE SUPPORT The Mekons, visit their website, and purchase their official releases from the Bloodshot Records website [HERE].

Jon Langford: April 4, 2014 Bell House – Flac/MP3/Streaming

April 28, 2014


neild reports:

Jon Langford is a man of many bands. In addition to his long tenure as a founding member of the Mekons, the Three Johns, and the Waco Brothers, he’s had a busy solo career since his first album under his own name, 1998’s Skull Orchard, which was recorded with the aid of fellow Wacos Steve Goulding, Alan Doughty, and Mark Durante. He’s since performed regularly with his New York-based band the Ship & Pilot, consisting of Goulding, Pere Ubu bassist Tony Maimone, and violinist Jean Cook.

This show was part of a mini-tour in support of Langford’s new album Here Be Monsters, recorded as Jon Langford and the Skull Orchard, this time consisting of Cook, Doughty, vocalist Tawny Newsome, Zincs guitarist Jim Elkington, and part-time Wacos drummer Joe Caramillo. (For good measure, the album also includes reproductions of paintings that Langford did for each song; his day job is as a fine artist, painting mostly music-related works, prints of many of which are for sale at the merch table at his shows.) The band that showed up at Bell House, though, was yet another iteration: Langford, Cook (filling in more than capably on Newsome’s backing vocals), Camarillo, Meat Purveyors guitarist Bill Anderson, and occasional Langford touring bassist Ryan Hembrey.

Any Jon Langford show, regardless, is first and foremost a Jon Langford show: hard-rocking, political, as likely to drop a reference to Joe Strummer’s time spent as a grave digger in Wales as to take time out for a terrible joke. (This is a man who once worked the line “Zen buddhist hot dog man/Make me one with everything” into a Mekons song.) The hour-and-a-half set included a mix of songs from Here Be Monsters (including the standout “Drone Operator,” featured in a haunting new video with Moroccan filmmaker Hassan Amejal), his previous solo release Old Devils, Skull Orchard, and a handful of other tracks, culminating in the Mekons anthem “Memphis, Egypt,” for which Goulding emerged from the audience to play drums and Camarillo strapped on a guitar, which he later described as “the most fun I’ve ever had standing up.”

This was recorded with a mix of the Bell House soundboard feed and Church Audio CA-14 cardioid mics mounted on the wall behind the board. Enjoy!

Stream the Complete Show:

This Recording is Available to Download in FLAC and MP3 at [HERE]

Jon Langford
Bell House
Brooklyn, NY

Source: SBD > iRiver H320 + AUD > CA-14 cardioids > MM-EBM-1 battery box (bass rolloff off) > iRiver H320
Transfer: iRiver H320 > WAV > SoundStudio > FLAC
Recorded by neil d

01. intro
02. Summerstars
03. Drone Operator
04. Mars
05. 1234ever
06. Haunted
07. Tubby Brothers
08. Pill Sailor
09. Sugar On Your Tongue
10. Little Ray of Light
11. What Did You Do In The War?
12. Streets of Your Town (Go-Betweens)
13. I Am The Law
14. Are You An Entertainer?
15. X-Ray Style (Joe Strummer)
16. Deep Sea Diver
17. Sentimental Marching Song
18. Homburg
19. Luxury
20. Getting Used to Uselessness
21. Memphis, Egypt

If you download this recording, please support Jon Langford. You can buy Here Be Monsters at, and the rest of his many, many albums scattered across the Internet, though Bloodshot Records’ Langford page isn’t a bad place to start.

Jon Langford: July 9, 2013 Maxwell’s – Flac/MP3/Streaming

July 23, 2013

[iphone photo by neild]

Longtime NYCTaper correspondent neild made his last trip to Maxwells:
“The very first time I went to a show at Maxwell’s in Hoboken was to see the Mekons, for a show in July 1991 when the Leeds-bred country-art-punk combo was touring in support of Curse of the Mekons, the album that got them kicked off A&M for being “commercially unsatisfactory.” This was at a time when the Mekons played in the New York area every few months (usually at Tramps or the Marquee), and I don’t remember much in particular about the show, except that Jon Langford and Sally Timms, then recently split as a couple, bickered both terribly and hilariously, and that the show ended with Jon and several other Mekons thrashing atop each other, and their guitars, on the floor. And that the whole thing was wonderful and anarchic and both so rock and roll and so anti-rock and roll in a way that only the Mekons have quite ever been able to pull off.

Almost 22 years later to the day, I made what will be my final visit to Maxwell’s to see Langford and his usual New York cohort (bassist Tony Maimone and drummer Steve Goulding, with only longtime violinist Jean Cook absent) play their farewell gig at the club, which as everyone reading this no doubt knows by now will close forever at the end of July. I was on vacation on the West Coast when I got an email about the show, which was due to take place just one day after I was to arrive back east on a red eye; of course, I immediately ordered tickets, because one more chance to see Jonboy at the greatest rock club in the world was something I couldn’t pass up, jet lag or no.

It didn’t disappoint. After taking the stage solo to play “Luxury” from his recent album Old Devils while waiting for Maimone and Goulding to make their way through the Maxwell’s crowd to the stage, Langford launched into full-band renditions of several songs from his 1998 solo debut Skull Orchard, a still-unparalleled masterpiece focused on his hometown of Newport, Wales (“Tubby Brothers” is about a real-life undertaking firm of that name); the rest of the set highlighted both Waco Brothers classics like “Walking on Hell’s Roof” and other solo material, including his recent, haunting Bloodshot single “Drone Operator.” After a break for drinks, the band returned to do a string of Mekons songs, more Jon solo material, and a set of covers before closing things out with the ur-Mekons track “Where Were You?”

It all amounted to both a eulogy for and a celebration of Maxwell’s, which was only fitting for an artist who’s spent the last several years selling paintings based on faded publicity photos of dead country music stars. For a fuller review, including a nice sampling of the jokes that peppered the evening (only some of which were about Sally Timms farting), see Will You Miss Me’s report on the evening.

This recording was made from two sources: a pair of cap-mounted Core Sound Binaural mics about ten feet from the stage, plus a soundboard feed. (Huge thanks for Maxwell’s soundman Mitch for his both his help in this area and his terrific mix for the night – NYC-area clubs, this man is a free agent come August 1, so get your dialing fingers working!) Despite some minor mishaps with a balky cable and some errant breezes from the Maxwell’s a/c system – one of the few things that’s changed there in the last 22 years – I was able to finesse it all in mixing into a recording I think you’ll all be happy with. Especially if you’re a fan of fart jokes.”

This recording is available for Download in FLAC and MP3 at [HERE].

Stream the Entire Show:

Jon Langford
Hoboken, NJ

Recorded and mastered by neil d

CoreSound Binaurals + soundboard > MM-EBM-1 battery box (with bass roll-off) > Line In > iRiver H320 (Rockboxed) > AIFF > Sound Studio > FLAC > XAct (for SBE and tags) > FLAC

First set:
01 Luxury
02 [banter – Billy Bragg]
03 Tubby Brothers
04 Youghal
05 Butter Song
06 Trapdoor
07 Death of Country Music
08 [banter – did the Waco Brothers ever play here]
09 Walking on Hell’s Roof
10 Drone Operator
11 [banter – some of my friends’ fathers]
12 Pill Sailor
13 [banter – I went to the doctor]
14 X-Ray Style (Joe Strummer)
15 [banter – the Three Johns broke up in this room]
16 Death of the European
17 Deep Sea Diver

Second set:
18 Memphis, Egypt
19 Lonely and Wet
20 [banter – Rico’s accordion is dead]
21 Slightly South of the Border
22 Dickie, Chalkie and Nobby
23 [banter – smells and tastes]
24 Millionaire
25 [banter – ooh, doggie]
26 Are You an Entertainer
27 Good Year for the Roses (George Jones)
28 Before I Grow Too Old (Fats Domino)
29 Sentimental Marching Song
30 [banter – a funny joke in Chicago]
31 Old Flames Can’t Hold a Candle to You (Dolly Parton)
32 It’s Not Enough
33 [banter – guitar solo]
34 Big River (Johnny Cash)
35 Nashville Radio
36 Big Spender (Shirley Bassey)
37 Wild and Blue (John Anderson)
38 Wreck on the Highway (Dorsey Dixon)
39 Where Were You

If you download this recording, we expect that you will PLEASE SUPPORT Jon Langford, visit his website, and purchase his official releases from the Bloodshot Records Website [HERE].

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