WMCN Open Mic Night 2/20/24

On the evening of Tuesday, February 20th, WMCN (your favorite 91.7 FM station) hosted an Open Mic Night for any Macalester students interested in showing off their musical talents. And show off they did.

Hosted in The Loch, the performers stood or sat before a black curtain upstage graced with the iconic WMCN banner. A guitar pedalboard, (some of) a drumkit, and a garden of speakers and amps encircled the space where the musicians performed, drawing and keeping the filled Loch’s attention onto the thirteen students who played for the eager crowd.

Opening for the event was Violet McCann, performing, as she put it, “some little shoegaze songs” from her new—as of now unreleased— album. However, “little” may have been an understatement, as all three originals—“Erosion,” “Broken Wings,” and “Donner”—filled the room with a delightfully heavy distortion thanks to McCann’s diverse array of pedals.

Following was Sev Scharpf, aka WMCN’s own DJ sevan eleven and host of Spill the Celsius on Sundays this semester. Scharpf performed an original titled “Battered Skeletons.” With an acoustic guitar in hand(s) and a page-turn halfway through, DJ sevan eleven truly serenaded the audience.

Next up, Zaki Numani performed guitar and vocal covers of three Palace songs: “Shame on You,” “It’s Over,” and “Where Sky Becomes Sea.” Numani’s covers gave a new, personal note to a well-curated selection of some of the U.K. alt band’s tracks.

Following next was Hareth Ali, breaking up the guitar streak with a wireless mic in hand and two original rap songs—“Taking a Stand” and “Lil’ Bro.” With lyrics touching on personal themes of his Yemeni heritage and relationship with his younger brother, Ali’s energetic performance connected with the audience so well that, when all of a sudden, his mic cut out, the crowd sang along to the chorus of “Taking a Stand.” 

Then, Jordan Galloway took to the stage with his acoustic guitar to perform “one and a half” originals for the audience. First, the full “Roses and Rhymes” showcased Galloway’s great voice and strong instrumental talents. Then, the untitled “half song” (which, as a credit to Galloway’s humility, could very well stand as finished) completed the set with a solid ending.

Next up, Linnea Joanen brought 00’s emo to the stage with two vocal covers of Paramore and Evanescence tracks- “Ignorance” and “Lithium,” respectively. The crowd very much appreciated the nostalgia trip (with one audience member exclaiming “I love this song!” when “Lithium” was announced), and Joanen’s presence ruled the stage.

Marking the halfway point of the night, Yvonne Moreria slowed things down with two acoustic guitar covers of Lana Del Ray’s “Mariners Apartment Complex” and Neil Young’s “Harvest Moon” (two “pretty underground” songs, Moreria joked). Moreria skillfully performed the tranquil selections and gave the crowd a chance to both enjoy and relax for a few wonderful minutes.

Up next was Julia Dworkin, performing a vocal cover of Greta Van Fleet’s “Light My Love” and an original (released under the stage name Jaded) titled “Climb Up,” previously performed at the Music Department’s Electronic Music Concert last December. The lyrics of “Climb Up” detailed Dworkin’s journey as a musician, and told the story of a truly passionate artist that the audience thoroughly appreciated.

Then was Matthew Brodsky, who opened his set with a bit of background surrounding the lyrical message cover of choice: Jeff Buckley’s “Dream Brother.” After his brief explanation, Brodsky then Grace-fully (pardon the pun) and expertly rendered out Buckley’s tune. If Brodsky hadn’t admitted that he’d only “practiced this one for about, like, an hour” you’d have assumed he’d been born with a pick in hand.

Similarly, Daniel Chang’s excellent guitar abilities were on full display as he took the stage next. Opening with ​​”La Vie en rose” by Édith Piaf, Chang’s wonderful playing continued with  “I Shall Be Released” by Bob Dylan, and “We All Fall in Love Sometimes” by Elton John. All three great covers thoroughly impressed the crowd.

Next up was the first and only duo act of the night, Lewis Libby Watt and Andy Grott. The two wore seemingly coordinated outfits of beanies, sweaters, wide-legged pants, and well-worn sneakers. The pair’s pair of original songs, titled “Loose Horse” and “Paco,” brought the crowd to silent awe at their sheer talent (both in songwriting and performance).

The final act of the night, Anna Devine, came on stage with two originals titled “Year’s End” and “Passenger” and a cover of “Yard” by Slow Pulp. Devine’s professional-level stage presence and obvious talent for making and performing music served as a wonderful nightcap.

Overall, the Open Mic Night was a very successful first event of the semester for WMCN. Stay on the lookout for more things to come from Garth and company!

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