Concert Review: The Marías

Los Angeles psychedelic-soul band, The Marías, dazzled the audience at The Loft on last Friday night. With velvety vocals and subtly sultry auras, The Marías dazzled and entranced the crowd before them.

On Friday, Oct. 26, The Loft welcomed The Marías to UC San Diego, where an eager crowd awaited. The Marías are musicians on the rise in Los Angeles, founded in 2016 by María and Josh Conway when he fell in love with her voice. The band is comprised of five members: María (lead vocalist and guitarist), Josh Conway (producer, drummer vocalist), Carter Lee (bass player and vocalist), Jesse Perlman (lead guitarist and vocalist), and Edward James (keyboardist and vocalist). Before the show, there were about six to 10 clusters of people spread throughout the venue. Upperclassmen and locals were at the bar, while the trendy, younger crowds secured their spots near the stage. I noticed a string of couples in the seating area. People were settling into the Friday night mood before the music kicked off.

Up-and-coming musician and Tijuana native Vanessa Zamora opened the show with a new wave sound from her album “Tornaluna,” which was released on Oct. 5. Each member of the band brought passion to the stage, evident by their headbanging and dancing. They were enjoying the performance just as much as the audience. Zamora and her bandmates were an energetic flow of sound that perked the audience right up while simultaneously cultivating a relaxing environment.

The Marías entered the stage with all the grace and sophistication exhibited in their music. By the end of their first song, “Cariño,” there was not a single person whose leg wasn’t bouncing and whose head wasn’t bopping. The five members reconcile their various music tastes in a medley of Latin-inspired jazz, dream pop, funk, and psychedelic notes that blend perfectly together. They played songs from their “Superclean, Vol. I” EP, as well as their “Superclean, Vol. II” EP.

From the jazzy “Cariño” to the funky “I Like It,” The Marías demonstrated cascading vocals and sensual lyricism. The Marías delivered a “super clean” performance. They were as good, if not better, during their live performance than on recordings. The band thoroughly demonstrated its talent across the board: From the trumpet to the vocals, each member of The Marías was hitting each note just right. The Marías’ harmonies were able to create an atmosphere that immersed the audience in a fantastical dream. The timeless quality of The Marías is the seamlessness of their sound. Though we were listening to them in a concert setting, you can listen to The Marías at virtually any time: hanging out by the pool while eating watermelon slices, dancing at a party, and even when you’re studying for your midterms.

The Marías took command of the room with their melodies, compelling everyone to indulge in the music. Their music utilizes soft tones that both soothe and energize the audience. Whether it was slow swaying, graceful twirls, or even just a tapping foot, everyone was dancing in their own way. As I looked around the room at the audience, I saw people not only dancing, but actually laughing in glee; some were even shouting eager praise at the band. All of the faces in the room were smiling.

When María asked, “Alguien aquí habla Español?” (“Does anyone here speak Spanish?”), a sprinkling of hands flew up in the air, including mine. Those who understood the question knew it was directed toward them. It was a nice moment to take pride in knowing multiple languages in a country that demands we speak only English. The Marías offer representation for Spanish speakers. The band writes music in both English and Spanish, uniting the languages through its modern sound. The Latinx students in the crowd were able to connect with the band members, specifically the lead singer María, who is of Puerto Rican descent, by yelling out a message in Spanish, a language only a few could understand.

Despite the mellow ambience of their music, The Marías were able to compel the crowd into an entranced state of enthusiasm. Though we all wished the show would last forever, their set came to an end after their song “Déjate Llevar,” which means “to let yourself go.” My only complaint is that they did not play another song when the crowd chanted for “One! More! Song!”

Grade: A
Date: October 26, 2018
Venue: The Loft at UCSD

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