Mecca Normal Embarks On 25th Anniversary Tour


Around the world, people are losing their jobs, cashing their unemployment checks and hunkering down to weather the storm. Canadian singer/multi-instrumentalist Jean Smith’s response to getting a pink slip when the eco-friendly clothing store where she worked closed its doors is a bit more hopeful and creative. She booked a 25th anniversary tour for Mecca Normal, her duo with guitarist David Lester. It starts in their hometown of Vancouver at the end of March and finishes up in Providence, R.I., a month later, with stops split between conventional rock venues and classrooms where they’ll stage a combination lecture/workshop/art exhibit.

“How Art & Music Can Change The World” provides a venue for Smith and Lester to present their work in other media (she is a published author and a painter, he makes politically themed posters and comics), but it also let’s them try to inspire audiences to effect progressive change through their own creative work. Mecca Normal hasn’t issued an album since 2006, but the duo hasn’t been musically idle. Lester’s other band, Horde Of Two, recently released its first CD, Guitar & Bass Actions, while Mecca Normal has been reissuing older records on iTunes and developing a diverse new set of songs, some of which you can hear on its MySpace page. One, “Malachi,” commemorates a Chicago antiwar activist who set himself on fire. Others, says Smith, “are narratives based in the male/female dynamic; we’ve performed most of these ones and they get laughs. I actually have to stop singing and wait for people to stop laughing.”

Tour dates after the jump.

“Medieval Man” from Who Shot Elvis? (download):

Tomorrow we’ll be posting the first in a series of weekly drawings that Lester is doing of people, places and events from Mecca Normal’s 25-year run.

Sitting On Snaps (Matador, 1995) and Who Shot Elvis? (Matador, 1997) have been re-released on iTunes (Smarten UP! Records, 2009)

Vancouver — March 28 — The Vinegar Factory — “How Art & Music Can Change The World”
Vancouver — April 1 — Windermere High School — “How Art & Music Can Change The World”
Bellingham, WA — April 3 — Underground Coffeehouse
Seattle — April 4 — Vera Project
Battle Ground, WA — April 5
Olympia — April 7 — Evergreen State College
Olympia — April 7 — All Ages Project
Portland — April 8 — Holocene
Salem, OR — April 9 — Cherry City Music Festival
Salem, OR — April 10 — Willamette University — “How Art & Music Can Change The World”
Eugene, OR — April 10 — Wandering Goat
Arcata, CA — April 11 — The Green House — “How Art & Music Can Change The World”
San Francisco — April 12 — Hemlock Tavern
San Francisco — April 13 — Modern Times Bookstore — “How Art & Music Can Change The World”
Los Angeles — April 14 — CalArts — “How Art & Music Can Change The World”
Los Angeles — April  15 — Knitting Factory Hollywood
Durham, NC — April 17 — Duke University — “How Art & Music Can Change The World”
Durham, NC — April 18 — DuoFest III
Washington, DC — April 19 — The Red & The Black Bar
New York — April 20 — Cake Shop
New York — April 21 — Bluestockings Books — “How Art & Music Can Change The World”
Philadelphia — April 22 — Nexus — “How Art & Music Can Change The World”
Turners Falls, MA — April 23 — Rendezvous
Providence — April 24 — Rhode Island School of Design — “How Art & Music Can Change The World”
Boston — April 25 — Megapolis Audio Festival — “How Art & Music Can Change The World”
Providence — April 25 — AS220

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