Valentine’s Day with The Marías

This Valentine’s Day, I opted to spend the night basking in the sultry sounds of one of my favorite bands right now, The Marías, who sold out the OC Observatory. The María’s first came on my radar when I heard them perform at the Long Beach festival, Topicalia, and I’ve been in love ever since. They released a two-part EP, Superclean Vol. I and II, just last year and it’s been in my heavy rotation this year. I was fortunate to snag a copy on vinyl, which features Vol I on side A, Vol. II on side B, and had María sign it during the meet-and-greet after the show.

Their set dazzled from start to finish, with María absolutely mesmerizing the audience in a stunning red dress as her ethereal voice carried across the audience. To set the scene, a table was set at the front side of the stage, and two women sat and were poured wine. The band took the stage, with the men donning white suits with black tops. The vibe was straight out of a ’20s flapper lounge. They opened with “Cariño” and the crowd grooved along right away. “Self-love is most important… and I’ve struggled with it,” María shared with the crowd of lovers. For “Over The Moon,” María said, “this song takes pace in outer space,” and they had everyone take out their phones and shine their flashlights, casting a glittering glow across the room. We were also graced with a couple new songs, not yet available to stream including “Out For The Night” and “Catalyst.” Seductive trumpet solos in songs like “Ruthless” got huge cheers from the crowd. But the cherry on top was a cover they had teased on their social media the day before the performance, one of Britney Spears’ “Hit Me Baby One More Time.” Their take on the song was in true María’s fashion, slow and seductive with some jazzy chords thrown in for good measure. They came out again for a three-song encore, starting with one of my favorites from them, the airy “ABQ.”

The opening acts were solid, with performances from Nashville’s Dreamer Boy and Tijuana’s Vanessa Zamora. Dreamer Boy had the crowd going “yee haw!” and grooving along to their fresh, hip-hop, R&B fusion. Vanessa Zamora charmed the crowd with her synth-heavy indie pop. Songs like “Solegrande” really had the crowd moving. All of her songs were in Spanish, and she threw out copies of her CDs which the crowd leapt at. Definitely acts to keep an eye on!

At the end of the night, fans lined up for a meet and greet with the band, and I got to have my record signed and fan girl a bit with a photo. 10/10 for this Valentine’s Day.

The Marias OC Observatory The Marias OC Observatory

Setlist:

  1. Cariño
  2. Only In My Dreams
  3. I Like It
  4. Superclean
  5. Over The Moon
  6. Out For The Night (new song)
  7. Ruthless
  8. Catalyst
  9. I Don’t Know You
  10. Hit Me Baby (Britney Spears cover)
  11. Basta Ya

Encore:

  1. ABQ
  2. Clueless
  3. Dejate

Hiatus Kaiyote during Grammy week

 I’ve had the immense pleasure of watching Hiatus Kaiyote perform twice in my life, both of which were legit transcendental experiences. At first, I’m upset with myself for not being able to follow the ever-changing time signatures. But then I surrender to the greatness that is Hiatus Kaiyote’s pure talent and precision that comes through in their sound.

Front woman, Nai Palm is truly a gift to watch live as she effortlessly incorporates jazz, funk, and rhythmic melodies that display her many vocal techniques. The entire band is comprised of extremely gifted and talented musicians, all of whom have made their jazz and funk-rock mastery apparent.

It is no surprise that “Breathing Under Water” is being nominated for a “Best R&B Performance” Grammy (although the category is questionable). It’s just a shame that the entire album, “Choose Your Weapon” is not up there as well. But as we all know, it’s Taylor Swift’s world and we’re all just living in it!

Haitus Kaiyote performed this past Tuesday at the Orange County Observatory. It’s a rare occasion to experience a live performance of this quality. From the opening song to the encore, a performance was delivered that’s difficult to put into words. The audience responded with gratitude at well thought out set list including a mix of fan favorites from Choose Your Weapon and Tawk Tomahawk.

Their music has a beautiful way of balancing complexity with ease, and heaviness with the ethereal, with everything coming into resolution with utter grace and ease. The closing performance of Nakamarra was really the icing on the cake. Bottom line is, no matter what music you’re into, Haitus Kaiyote flat out rocks, and does so while making it look so easy and effortless.