SATURDAY

One band: one woman, one guy. One out-there voice. One out-there guitar. They call themselves Mecca Normal, and they write songs about walking alone at night, people living in cardboard houses, and Elvis. They structure their songs like folkies—and sound anything but. They are one of the loudest bands around. They know how to clear out a room. They know how to make a room feel good. They have been together for 15 years. They are in their 40s, but this ain’t no oldies act. I interviewed Jean Smith, an original grrrl—and Mecca Normal’s singer—via e-mail as they started their tour. She got pretty touchy-feely: What should we expect? “[T]he audience should feel the inspiration of watching two friends collaborate. We have had the same sense of expression, exploration for all these years; to make music that relates to our personal lives…You are invited into the dynamic.” What’s your proudest moment? “I’m proudest of us when we laugh together, at each other’s jokes. Yesterday I described someone as having a mohawk comb-over—neither of us could stop laughing.” Who controls the radio? “Jean is the driver. The driver controls the radio. No country. No Beach Boys.” How has Mecca Normal changed? “What’s political now is keeping going, encouraging our peers, searching for active communities to participate in, knowing what feeds us and what is detrimental. Refining.” Check them out as they play with Unwound and the Thrones at 9:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 15, at the Black Cat, 1811 14th St. NW. $10. (202) 667-7960. Please call ahead to verify that this event is happening. (Jason Cherkis)