WORDS + PHOTOS BY ASHLEY EVERS, ASSOCIATE EDITOR
With the rise of Lo-fi, bands with a well-developed, cohesive aesthetic have been consistently showing up on playlists and in the media. The Marías from Los Angeles have been around for quite some time now, having released their first EP Superclean Vol. I in the fall of 2017, followed by Superclean Vol. II in early 2018. The group has been busy trekking the country this summer on their “A Mission to Jupiter Tour,” stopping in Chicago for a sold-out show at the beautiful Thalia Hall.
María Zardoya showed up strong on lead vocals, accompanied by her partner Josh Conway on drums. The couple is joined by their good friends Carter Lee on bass, Edward James on keys, and Gabe Steiner on trumpet.
The 5 piece band emerged through red fluorescent light. Each member walked out dressed as if they were a group best friends going out on a Saturday night during the ‘70s. Zardoya picked up a guitar bigger than her and started to sing the first verse of “Cariño” in Spanish as the crowd cheered. Zardoya reminded me greatly of an indie Selena, with her angelic stature & vocals.
The night was filled with smooth vocals and crisp instrumentals. Zardoya appeared very gentle, pacing the stage slowly, and spoke in a dreamy tone when addressing fans. In the track “Ruthless,” Zardoya whispered “But darling the truth is, in darkness I’m ruthless” in a hypnotizing tone while keeping her tender composure. Conway sported a bucket hat and dazzled fans with his jazzy percussion throughout the entire set.
“Only In My Dreams” from Superclean Vol. I punched with slight intensity, but the tension was calmed through a funky groove. On the other hand, “Over The Moon” from Superclean Vol. II featured sensual synths and romantic rhythms.
Zardoya teased fans before the first few notes of “Baby One More Time” by Brittany Spears started to ring. The Marías’ cover of this track is now available on all streaming platforms, and I must admit, they truly added a fiery kick to their rendition.
The group had a way of bringing life to their instrumental ballads through a simple yet tasteful stage presence that captivated fans attention the entire night.
They made it nearly impossible to not immerse oneself in their sultry mood and aesthetic. Towards the end of their set, Zardoya adapted a dreamy speaking voice and encouraged a sing along to the group’s most popular single, “I Don’t Know You.” As the group’s tour comes to an end, they all reflected on how grateful they are to have toured together at least five times before this. Breaks between songs were used to express their gratitude for the love and support they have received along their climb.
The Marías have come a long way as an independent band, combining hints of jazz and psychedelia to create invigorating sounds that allow fans to drift into a different era across many cultures. The contrast between dark and bright energy created a perfect mix of intimacy and inspiration made for a wonderful Friday night.
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