Nighttime Vibes with The Marias
STORY & PHOTOS: Cory Weaver
Usually, a Tuesday night is a hard night to sell—especially, with five inches of snow on the ground and an indie rock band headlining the bill. But, the Marías are a trend-bucking sort of band and pooh-poohed the Tuesday billing bugaboo—playing to a sold-out Old Rock House.
Fronted by a mesmerizing, velvety smooth-voiced, bilingual singer, the Marías’ María Zardoya entrances crowds. Beguiling onlookers with her effortless, sultry vocals while matched by stifling grooves—you’re immediately hooked. Never mind that she was cascaded in a singular light with any and all lighting effects directed through her, penetrating the crowd—in a blood-red corset.
Showcasing their first full-length album, Cinema, Zardoya and beau Josh Conway (drums) self-produced this nugget of gold in their L.A. apartment. I have a feeling that they would’ve recorded the album this way even if there weren’t pandemic restrictions and lockdowns consuming us.
A hybrid of Latin-pop, synth and rock, the Marías elaborately mix those with lazy, desert-y Bossa Nova undertones that, at times, are simply transportive. Opening with “Just a Feeling,” which segued into “Calling U Back,” slowly raised the blood pressure of the enthusiastic crowd on the floor, while the 100 or so fans in the balcony jockeyed for position.
The gentle magnetism of Zardoya’s vocals were anything but overwhelmed by her bandmates. The five piece’s balance is a well-oiled machine—never mind that it was only the eighth show of this tour—and they appear to be veterans of the road.
The first bilingual song of the night, “Little by Little,” sent the crowd into an uproar when (and every time after) trumpeter Gabe Steiner ran on stage from off-stage right as he played the intro to “Hable con Ella.”
It was a fluid build, a perfect mix—seemingly making every song more enjoyable than the last. The whole set didn’t just feature songs from their newest release, they also fit in “Only in Dreams” from 2017’s Superclean, Vol. 1. Breaking the mold of originals, they next featured their take on Brittney Spears, “…Baby One More Time.” As excited as the crowd was to see Steiner run on stage to play trumpet, this all-ages crowd was really set into a frenzy for this seductive take on this cover.
Rounding out their 90-minute set were three straight songs from Superclean Vol. 1, “Basta ya,” “Déjate Ilevar,” and “I Don’t Know You,” before setting the crowd off with “Hush” during the encore. “Hush” is the radio-ready hit of the summer. Its bouncy dark synth is a seductive backbeat that evokes you to simply sway. “Don’t think you’ve made it/ Under my skin/ Could never get in/ Forget about it.”