If there’s one thing to expect from the Mekons these days it’s change. Unwilling to rest on their laurels, the Mekons enthusiastically take chances, dabbling in various forms without accidentally assuming their shapes. This gig previews material from their forthcoming album Pussy, King of the Pirates (Quarterstick), an intriguing collaboration with postmodern novelist Kathy Acker. (The album release coincides with the publication of her new book of the same name.) A musical travelogue, the record investigates themes of Acker’s work: pirates, gender confusion, sex, violence, the word “cunt.” The story, like most of her writing, is blindingly multireferential and often difficult to follow. But the Mekons’ flexible accompaniment serves the album’s truncated narrative well; there’s always a tune to fall back on. Spoken interludes and style-hopping melodies combine to create a real musical for the apocalypse. It should be interesting to see how they pull it off live. For the remainder of the gig the Mekons have a vast oeuvre to pillage, and as a bonus drummer Steve Goulding is back in tow. Next Sunday, December 31, 10 PM, Metro, 3730 N. Clark; 549-0203.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/James Fraher.