Review: The Marías Hit a New High at Thalia Hall

After a canceled Lollapalooza aftershow set back in August; Los Angeles indie pop band, The Marías, return to Chicago for two dreamy (and sold out!) nights at Pilsen’s glorious​ Thalia Hall. The Marías momentum seems to get bigger and better every time they make a stop back in Chicago; it’s almost like catching up with an old friend every few months. Thalia was acked even before the opener, Holdan, came on as fans have been anticipating this performance for a couple of months now!

Holdan flawlessly warmed up the eager crowd with his charming yet humble personality and instantly memorable bedroom-pop/folk sound. I was unfamiliar with Holdan’s music prior to this night but he definitely left a positive impression not only on me but for the rest of the crowd; as they roared in an attentive applause for the up-and-coming singer/songwriter. Having only a few thousand followers and already opening for the Marías, it’s obvious the man’s got talent and the potential to blossom even further.

After Holdan’s brief set; The Marías gathered on the dark stage as “Talk to Her” played. Finally, the moment everyone had been waiting for, María Zardoya herself emerged on stage as the lights went on, performing their classic Cinema tour opener “Calling U Back.” The crowd was instantaneously starstruck. There’s a sort of grace and elegance to María, from her gorgeous stage presence to her stunning live voice. The Marías are the sort of band (in my opinion) that has absolutely no bad songs so this set was an absolute treat. They played jam after jam including their all-Spanish song “Un Millón” and their viral hit feature on Bad Bunny’s “Otro Atardecer” making the crowd extra rowdy. I adore The Marías for having songs in both English and Spanish as well as blending and mixing the two languages throughout their latest record, Cinema.

A swift mid-set pee break and brief jam session later, Zardoya came back to join her band on stage for the rest of their mesmerizing set. They snuck in a brief melody cover of “La Bamba” into their own song “Jupiter,” which flowed so well that my ears had to do a double take before realizing that this wasn’t a part of the original song. They also covered “…Baby One More Time” which at this point feels as much The Marías song as it does a Britney Spears song. I wouldn’t be opposed if the Marías were to one day decide to release a cover album or EP because they do a marvelous job at converting other songs to fit their artistic mold. Zardoya also blessed Thalia with a new song, “Run Your Mouth” which I instantly fell in love with and am really looking forward to its studio release.

Being my THIRD time seeing The Marías this year alone, It has been remarkable seeing their confidence flourish as a band and María as a performer. The Cinema tour has been quite extensive but rightfully so. Cinema being only their debut album has set the bar impressively high for debut albums moving forward. From Grammy nominations to getting featured on Bad Bunny’s album Un Verano Sin Ti, The Marías are JUST getting started. I am immensely stoked to see and hear what the band comes out with next although it’s almost impossible for them to disappoint.

All photos by Andrew Lagunas

Andrew Lagunas
Andrew Lagunas

Andrew Lagunas is a freelance photographer from Naperville who specializes in portraiture and concert photography. He has an Associate in Arts degree from College of DuPage and is always looking for new creative outlets.