McCormick and everyone he plays with are truly musician's musicians. Like when you're around them, it's on another level, like when you're around IT guys and they talk about tech stuff ... you can't really wrap your head around what just comes totally naturally to them. It's heavily impressive.
The Cinema is tiny, so you're right up close to the expertise. The sound is never great, it's really too small for it to resonate like it should. Having said that, you're totally immersed in it, and that IS great. It was a bluesy kind of night, and that meant we got to hear our great pal, Stan Behrens (WAR), blow on his harmonica all night long. This guy. Not only is he a liver transplant survivor, but one of the best harp players in the world, who rips harder than ever after his new lease on life. Plus he's just a wonderful human.
All of Studebaker's members are top top notch, from Steve Postell's total shredding on guitar (that he plays very high and tight), soloing like Steve Vai in that little room, to Eric Lynn on the keys (and an amp he had to tape together last minute), it's clear that you are in the presence of masters of their craft. From the grit of the Chicago blues to gorgeous ballads of love (in fact, I feel like I might have seen two people catch each others' eyes for the first time and fall instantly in love - but I might be projecting...), every last note was a pleasure to absorb.
By now, my high spirits were restored. I went in the bathroom and in a bit of synchronicity of thought, right in the middle of the door was this graffiti, telling me what I already know.
Happiest of Birthdays to Mom and Steve! And thanks so much to Steve and Studebaker for the music, and for the elevation of us all of us Venice folks and friends that crammed into that room. Music heals.