First of all, let me say it was my pleasure to see McCormick’s open again after the COVID shutdown. For some reason I didn’t know until tonight, when I just happened to duck in for a beer or two, that they were still open and especially that they still held open mics every week (now it’s on Monday at 9 whereas it used to be Tuesday at 11).
Just to start from the top, the first band that went on was kind of like if The Internet was rock — it was a very jazzy approach to jam rock, with an emphasis on funk, very much carrying on the Umphrey’s McGee tradition, or “soul,” if you will, of South Bend, and of downtown South Bend, in particular. The drummer was this dude with a Poetic Justice shirt on who seemed to hold it down, though was kind of stoic, and the bassist, funky as He**, was this other black dude who was just impossibly funky, like a rubber-fingered monster, and what was really fu**ing me up about him was that he sat behind the drummer the whole time so I could hardly see his a**. There was an ambient guitarist who joined them on precious, jazz-laden licks.
The second act, I kid you not, was something that had to be seen to be believed. Basically, it was this gorgeous girl of abourt 22 or so, blond hair, in a white dress and white high heels and no bra, up there, letting the guitar press against her loose, ample breasts while she belted out this twisted, kind of Marilyn Manson-influenced alternative rock, sans percussion. Her voice was beautiful and reminded me of Bjork, but don’t get me wrong it could get twisted too, as could that ferocious guitar she was playing, of which, I apologize, I don’t know the brand. I’m actually kind of a loser and so didn’t even catch her name but did manage to snag a word with her and tell her how good she was after the performance, during some very loud input from the third act up. And I did get the rhetoric from her that all her songs were her own originals, no covers.
The third act was similar to the first — a jazzy approach to jam rock, with a different drummer this time but that same shy bassist that for whatever reason had a proclivity for sitting behind the drummer. And if you’re wondering why I’m not mentioning a singer it’s because there was no singer in any of this — the first or third act, that is.
The fourth act was this kind of annoying 27-year-old rapping black girl but she ended up kind of growing on me because she just had this relentless flow and kind of had that nasal accent like that bit** on the Roots album who says something like “You can see their faces changing the longer they play the music,” in that Philly accent she’s got.
After that, it was this other band covering songs like “Say it Ain’t So” by Weezer and doing it in full force, full energy and with a full-band sound. Right when I walked it, too, I saw this cute little dyke-looking chick who ended up being Alex Ann Allen, a local who had painted the beautiful mural that McCormick’s now has on the wall behind where the band plays, so basically everybody looks at it while they’re watching the music. And they have Rogue Dead Guy Ale on draft. I’m glad I found out that sh** was 9% before I had more than three of them or I might have never made it home. But anyway, I almost got into it with this dude outside, afterwards, with like 20 black dudes having his back, and I’m not the type to be a problem so I might not go back for a while, but there is a plethora of great music being transmitted within the McCormick’s open mic these days and it was chicken soup for the soul all the way.