The Marías Electrify The Ford With A Latin-Inspired Set The Marías get back to the stage after a year-and-a-half long hiatus to celebrate their debut album "Cinema"
LOS ANGELES, CA- A full youth orchestra sat behind the lights of the amphitheater, as palm trees were lit by shadows of red, green, and blue. Drummer Josh Conway, guitarist Jesse Perlman, and keyboardist Edward James entered the stage to play the opening of the band’s debut LP Cinema.
The cinematic edge of The Marías’ Cinema is up, front and center as the band opened with “Just A Feeling.” The song’s beautifully melancholic string section and cascading guitars are enough to warrant a wave of emotions, from crooning tears to romantic anticipation.
Lead singer Maria Zardoya entered down a small flight of stairs during this moment, welcoming the opening of the Ford Theater back to the public.
After a slight musical hiccup to start the next track, the band went right into “Calling U Back,” one of the lead singles off their newest album Cinema.
The crowd graciously welcomed the band that Friday night, July 30, 2021, as the show was put on for the community, essential workers, friends of the LA Philharmonic, Hollywood Bowl, and Ford Theater, and the few lucky fans who got to be a part of this special secret show as the band’s first appearance in more than a year-and-a-half.
As this was my first time at the Ford Theater, I was instantly impressed by the beauty, class, and sound of the historic 101-year-old venue. The Marías’ appearance, alongside activist dance theater Contra-Tiempo and the YOLA (Youth Orchestra Los Angeles), inspired a night full of Latinx-inspired entertainment, with the band’s many Spanish-infused hits hitting home for many Los Angelenos.
The Ford’s beautiful outdoor setting and multi-colored lights, complemented by The Marías’ soothing, sultry tunes and black-and-red attire complete with a swan statue as an ode to their album, made the allure of The Marías clear to me. The band’s incredible musicianship, from Conway’s strong jazz percussion and Perlman’s swift and sensual guitar riffs, alongside Puerto Rican vocalist Zardoya’s smoky and breathy vocals, impressed. I was instantly taken to another place as I was moved by their groovy percussive elements, memorable riffs, and horn solos sprinkled throughout. Songs like “Heavy” and “The Mice Inside This Room,” are beautifully pensive and melancholic, as Zardoya meditates, “Maybe I’m living in my head / Maybe I’m living to pretend / Maybe I wanna stay in bed.” It was through these moments where I understood the terminology behind “psychedelic soul.”
Unlike many other local L.A. bands, The Marías specialize in taking you into a world of their own. They let the music drive the mood and take their time in allowing the music to fill the space to hit right into your soul — much like listening to vinyl from front to back.
Zardoya expressed her gratitude and thanks for being able to play a majority of their songs from their latest album. Her English and Spanish dialect in songs like “Little By Little” and “Fog as a Bullet” were mesmerizing and captivating, and the band’s synth-driven percussion and orchestral elements were beautiful accompaniments to their already trance-like lullabies. The band also included Superclean hits such as “Ruthless” and “I Don’t Know You” in their set, full of Latin-inspired power and Conway’s beautiful vocal accompaniments to beau Zardoya, proving the band knows how to put on a party.
As a nod to current times, Zardoya paid homage to the “one real true queen”, telling the audience that “nobody should be telling us what to do,” standing in solidarity with pop icon Britney Spears as the band started to play the beginning of their rendition of “…baby one more time.” The song, played in pure Marías fashion, fit well into the entire aesthetic, mood, and sensuality of the band, and was a true crowd-pleaser.
Playing for a full hour-and-a-half by the time the house lights went up at 10:30 pm, the band closed the night off with Cinema favorite “Hush” and their beloved “Cariño,” both for the encore.
While The Marías isn’t set to hit the road for their Cinema tour until January 2022, the beloved Angelenos are heavy on promotion for their debut album, which was released on June 25, 2021.
As I ran into guitarist Jesse Perlman’s father Barry, who is also the owner of vinyl store Supervinyl in West Hollywood (where The Marías also host a few of their album release celebrations), he asked, “Aren’t you proud of my son?’
For the small Los Angeles band to have reached heights such as this — opening the Ford and having a full orchestra behind them in a matter of a few short years since their formation in 2016 — is inspiring to see. And we can’t wait to see where they go next.
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