Review: The Marías Cast a Spell on Us at Thalia Hall

The Marías invited us to join their cult last Friday at Thalia Hall. To give you a glimpse: During the encore, drummer Josh Conway lured the entire audience to get low to the ground by reciting parts of the “Cha Cha Slide” into the mic.

Even just a few songs into their set, the band executed every intro, refrain, and transition with such polish and thoughtfulness, that the crowd at this sold-out concert was immediately under the spell.

The Marías are a band that thinks about detail. Even at their merch table, they laid a small white fur rug on the merch table, along with a few roses, to display the cherry-red vinyl and tour poster. The man working the table said, “this is all María’s vision.” Every groove, even in the their extended live rendition of “Loverboy,” felt at once deliberate and effortless.

The LA-based psychedelic soul band emerged from what seemed like nowhere in the past few years. Their two-volume EP, Super Clean Vol. I and II, shows their lush and dreamy side — a sound that trends well in the age of the algorithm, along with “bedroom pop” playlist fellows like Cuco or Men I Trust — but The Marías’s understated ability is chiseling every detail to create, and maintain, a mood.

If anything, they stay so true to their sound and aesthetic, that it can be hard to remember song names. Because everything blends so well.

Lead singer María Zardoya moved on stage not unlike an indie Britney Spears (and they even covered “…baby one more time”). She’s backed by a mellow-but-dynamic band that blended their soulful Latin jazz rhythms with their dreamy, psychedelic timbres. That is to say, this is bedroom pop you can groove to.

Zardoya said this has only been their sixth tour but they executed their set with more polish than bands that have toured for more than 10 years. Having supported the likes of Albert Hammond Jr. on tour, the soulful band has found their place — and audience — as headliners.

See them when you can. And as this sold-out showed, buy tickets quickly. They’re no longer an indie band you’ll hear on playlists that may roll into town soon — they’re now a hard-hitting, bonafide pop band.

All photos by Julian Ramirez

Colin S. Smith
Colin S. Smith

Colin Smith thinks that Chicago right now is the place to be for music. He works for Illinois Humanities, is a freelance writer, and plays psychedelic-pop songs with his band.

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