Normal History Vol. 295: The Art Of David Lester

Every Saturday, we’ll be posting a new illustration by David Lester. The Mecca Normal guitarist is visually documenting people, places and events from his band’s 30-year run, with text by vocalist Jean Smith.

After the whirlwind of action that landed us in a cheap, but totally serviceable Newark hotel ($64 a night), we set off to Brooklyn to pick up merch we’d had shipped—including a box of the new LP sent by UPS from the pressing plant in L.A. Turns out the LP package had arrived an hour before we got to our pick-up point (total strangers; friend of a friend we haven’t met yet). This is the same place I sent the amp I bought on eBay. Too bad they were on the fourth floor of a building with no elevator. After Dave carried it all to the car, we drove to the venue (I do all the driving and Dave does all the lifting). We thought Trans Pecos would be a cultural center or a café sort of thing. Turns out it’s “gently labeled” in very light chalk above the door (which we didn’t see). So the street addresses appear to go from 913 right to 917 with a few random doorways in between. Very disconcerting. It really didn’t look like we were at the right place, but we were an hour early so we parked the car across the street to begin opening boxes of merch to put together a selection for the show. Luckily we were early because the LP was shipped in three parts—vinyl, jacket and plastic sleeve. So we set up a two-person assembly line on the sidewalk and got it done DIY style. This is all happening in a section of Queens that is not at all hipster, but a hipster did happen by. When he saw us, he took out his earbuds and asked, “What are y’all doing?” And I said, “It’s a long story.” He took a step closer, and I explained. I pointed to the deserted building across the street and told him we were playing a show there later. He frowned and went on his way, unimpressed.

We kept an eye open for any signs of life across the street and right on time, at 6:30, we saw someone unlock one of the mysterious doors and step inside.

Our previous Todd P show was at Union Docs in 2006—on tour with Shoplifting. Great to see him again and hear about this fantastic new space run by a group of committed individuals (who swept and washed the floors before and after the show).

Angus did a sensational job with the sound during the Mount Eerie soundcheck, so we knew we were going to have an excellent experience.

Oh—and the amp I bought on eBay worked perfectly!! Dave sounded excellent. And we debuted a new song called “The Ferry To The Launch.” That was a thrill. And what a great audience. Holy cow.

“Richard” from Calico Kills The Cat (K, 1989; Matador, 1991; Smarten Up!, 2003) (download):

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