Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Road Trip: Jon Langford & Skull Orchard at Dogfish Head in Rehoboth

Worth the drive to Delaware.

Road Trip: Jon Langford & Skull Orchard at Dogfish Head in Rehoboth

Jon Langford. (Dan DeLuca)
Jon Langford. (Dan DeLuca)

The great Welsh rocker Jon Langford - sometimes of the Waco Brothers, sometimes of the Mekons - plays at the Dogfish Head Brew Pub in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. 

For this gig, Langford is performing under his own name, with his band Skull Orchard, in support of his new album, Here Be Monsters. As opposed to the emphatic Cash-meets-Clash raw power pf the Wacos or shambling punk-country experimentalism of the Mekons, Here Be Monsters is a set of acutely intelligent rock songs of a slightly folkish bent delivered with trademark biting wit and left leaning political anaylsis.

"Ooh, what did you do in the war?" the longtime Chicagoan asks, singing of guns, blood and business. "Did you make more money than ever before?" The album's centerpiece is "Drone Operator," in which he explores the would-be moral crisis of a technician with the power to cause destruction on the other side of the globe.

Langford, who's pictured at a SXSW from a few years back, is a visual artist as well as a musician, and his connection to Dogfish Head is deep. In addition to specializing in painting arresting images of musicians and skeleton-faced cowboys (and including one painting for each songs in the artwork for Here Be Monsters), he's done lots of poster art and label painting for beers like Burton Baton for the Milton, Delaware-based company. Langford is a tremendously charming and generous live act, and what will make this gig even better than most is it's free.

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Inquirer Music Critic
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Dan DeLuca Inquirer Music Critic
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