Review: A Night of Excellent Psychedelic Trips with Crumb

There are few bands as alluring as Crumb. Their mixing of elements from jazz, psychedelia and indie pop into a hazy package has garnered them a pretty substantial following. After a few excellent EPs, this year saw their full length debut Jinx catapult them to indie rock stardom without a label backing them. And quite frankly, they deserve it. Their songs are full of unfiltered, dreamy and mysterious lyricism that is uniquely Crumb. Earlier this year, they made their way to Thalia Hall along with Divino Niño for a great display of engrossing tunes. With this return trip to Pilsen they added Shormey to the list, shaping up a lineup that flowed incredibly well as its sights and sounds became all the more psychedelic as the night progressed. And with all the bands hitting their stride early on, it made for one of the more cohesive concerts of the year.

Shormey‘s set was an excellent start to the night. Full of throwback vibes that are downright jams, Shormey’s performance was an incredible experience. There is so much to enjoy in her songs as they mix tons of elements together to great success. Some had R&B grooves while others felt like soul gems padded up with modern pop melodies. Shormey and her band really kicked up towards the end of their set, launching into some of their more energetic and danceable songs, sending Thalia Hall into frenzy.

The atmosphere was changed up for Divino Niño as everything became a little more mellow and slow. It stands to reason as the local’s music is way more psychedelic and chill. But as the opening rhythms of “Quiero” rang out, it was clear that the more relaxed attitude would be heralded by the crowd. Divino Niño’s songs are so lush and catchy, making for the perfect soundtrack for the night.They played the majority of their excellent album Foam, a perfect reprieve from the chilly weather outside the venue. The crowd was all aboard the band’s amazing trip, whether it was fan favorites like “Melty Caramelo” and “Maria” or off-kilter dalliances like the instrumental song underlined by the constant chanting of “Welcome to Miami.” By the end of their set, which was highlighted by a cover of The Bee Gee’s”How Deep Is Your Love?,”  it was incredibly clear that Divino Niño deserve to be commanding stages like this on the regular.

By the time Crumb came on stage, the entire Thalia Hall crowd was more than ready for them. Even the mere glimpse of Lila Ramani coming out to tune her guitar sent a spike of energy through the audience. When the lineup ultimately dimmed and the entire band made their way on stage, the palpable anticipation was finally rewarded with a mesmerizing set.

It’s seriously hard not to be completely enveloped by Crumb’s music. Their songs play on multiples levels, being as spacey as it is focused, subtle as it is fitting for a psychedelic jam. Add to that the trippy imagery projected behind them and you get something great. Crumb is everything you’d want from an indie rock band with moments of beautiful clarity like that in “Plants” to the sax moments in “Crackling” that come off like bombastic explosions of joy from Brian Aronow in a live setting. Their performance sent their gentle and trippy songs into the stratosphere, evoking way more emotions than I originally expected.

Lila Ramani’s wonderful voice is at the heart of Crumb’s sound and it’s even more alluring live. Despite lyrics that deal with darker and haunting elements, Ramani’s voice just feels like one you want to get lost in. She handles herself and the crowd with a determined serenity that often eludes most other bands. “Locket,” which stands as one of their most popular songs, in particular was a song that benefited from Ramani and the rest of the band’s laidback demeanor. Their presentation for such a great set of captivating songs added to their mysterious charm.

After all the vibes doled out throughout the set, Crumb gave their entranced audience a great end to the night of psychedelic pop perfection with “So Tired” from their debut collection of songs. It was a great nod to their early work and a fitting end to the show. The song pushes forward the idea of letting your voice get out into the world and left a defining mark on Thalia Hall. “Trying to stop, but this feeling remains” sang Romani as the crowd gently swayed along. If Crumb wasn’t already cemented in the audience’s head as a magnificent live band, this show surely did it.

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Julian Ramirez