Concert Review: The Marías @ 9:30 Club (2/14/22)

The Marías (Photo Credit: Ashley Seryn)
The Marías (Photo Credit: Ashley Seryn)

The Marías gifted DC fans a music love letter at the 9:30 Club on February 14th, and as a bonus they showered the adoring masses with flowers.

Their tour is called CINEMA, to honor their first full length album, of which they masterfully performed 8 (of the 13) songs from that album.

A disembodied voice introduced the band, and as the first notes of the intro track on CINEMA, “Just a Feeling”, flowed through the sold out 9:30 Club crowd, a palpable joy set in. Although The Marías are a relatively new band (they formed in 2016), it wasn’t only a feeling, it was a movement, as one could plainly see that they commanded a huge following of adoring fans.

The Los Angles band is comprised María Zardoya (lead vocals) and Josh Conway (drums), and includes Jesse Perlman (guitar) and Edward James (keyboards) for live shows. The band’s name comes from María (though there is only one in name), as the face of the indie and Latin pop band.

The first four songs were from CINEMA, including “Un Millón”, a slinky song that is impossible not to dance to, and highlights María’s resonant and alluring voice; and “Little by Little”, impossible not to sway to, maybe with someone else up close. In fact, many of the tracks from CINEMA seemed perfectly themed for a romantic evening. Many of their lyrics and songs are also in Spanish, as María was born in Puerto Rico and raised in Atlanta.

A giant doorway loomed over the band members and a grand staircase lead the way from the back to the stage, reminiscent of the entrance to an grand movie theater in the golden age of film. They definitely put on a grand show that the eager crowd would be happy to re-watch again and again.

Later they played “Only In My Dreams”, from their EP Superclean, Vol. 1, which speaks to finding someone to protect you from the demons in your dreams. The bass line and beats were especially atmospheric, bringing a comfortably low key sound. One of my favorite songs they played. Next came “Care For You”, where Edward (I think) belted a horn to accompany the dirge-like, old-timey vibe of the song.

Since the day was actually Valentine’s Day, María threw out an array of flowers to those close enough to the stage to catch them. And much to her surprise, Josh stepped down from the drums (subsequently filled in by the drummer from the opening artist Maye) and sat on the staircase to serenade María with the lyrics to “Over the Moon” (they are a couple). She was visibly moved and said it was a “sweet surprise”.

They ended the main set, which included 16 songs with a Britney Spears cover, with “All I Really Want Is You”, another R&B infused love letter to someone special.

They came back for two songs in the encore, including “Hush” from CINEMA, where the beats throbbed so hard you could feel them distort your face, building momentum and pulling you back into the show. They closed with “Cariño”, with its fantastic melodic introduction, before María jumped in to serenade the listeners with Spanish sweet nothings. Cariño means ‘Dear’ in Spanish.

Then the whole band threw another endless supply of flowers out into the cheering crowd.

Next time The Marías come to DC, check in early so you don’t miss getting your ticket!

With love.

Setlist

  1. Just a Feeling
  2. Calling U Back
  3. Un Millón
  4. Little by Little
  5. Only In My Dreams
  6. Care For You
  7. Ruthless
  8. Clueless
  9. Heavy
  10. Over the Moon
  11. …Baby One More Time (Britney Spears cover)
  12. (Maybe Déjate llevar)
  13. Basta Ya
  14. I Don’t Know You
  15. Spin Me Around
  16. All I Really Want Is You

Encore

  1. Hush
  2. Cariña

Author: Jeremy Bailey

Writer and editor living in Washington, D.C.

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