Article and photo by: Milo Keranen
On a chilly November night, people begin to fill the emblematic music theatre Metro in Wrigleyville — which is slowly awakening after its long hibernation during the pandemic. The fans filled up every nook and cranny of the concert hall, warming up via body heat and well, the bar. The liveliness of the crowd matched the opener, duendita, who brought colorful, upbeat energy to top that of the audience.
Singer/producer duendita and guitarist/producer Noah walked out in vibrant clothing with their variety of instruments; a guitar, synthesizers, a wind-up music box, a bell, flute, and other various house items. The pair kicked off the show by looping sounds of household objects until an experimental, textured beat was curated. Once becoming accustomed to the beat, duendita incorporated her euphonious voice over the unique beat. At first, the duo’s bizarre, enigmatic music caught the audience by surprise. But as duendita continued to exert energy and owned the music, the pair won the crowd’s hearts and everyone was off their seats dancing. Duendita called one of her songs an “existential dance track” and informed the crowd it was created in an Airbnb, 3 days prior to the show. As soon as the beat picked up, the crowd was jumping up and down dancing as if 2020 never happened — although everyone was still wearing masks, and showed proof of vaccination to attend the show. Following the performance, duendita graciously thanked us for letting her play her weird music. The duo’s optimistic and fun energy brought out the best in the crowd, who were enlivened for Crumb’s performance.
Crumb walked out to their simple set with lead singer/guitar Lila Ramani, bassist Jesse Brotter, Bri Aronow on synthesizer, keyboard, and saxophone and Johnathon Gilad on drums. Skipping the small talk, the band jumped right into the song “Up & Down,” the lead off track on their 2021 album, Ice Melt.
After 2 years without performances, Crumb’s ice melt tour is hitting all of the major cities in the U.S. “I just wanna say it feels so good to be back here after two years,” Lila announced, well into the show.
The band showed no sign of rust from the pandemic. The group’s dream-like essence in their sound was magnified by 4 large snowflakes on the set, that would slowly open and close, with different colored lights reflecting off of them. For a few of their older songs, I noticed myself focusing in on these snowflakes and falling into a trance because of the surrealness that filled the atmosphere of the theatre. During the new songs, the snowflakes on the stage stayed still, either completely open or closed. Crumb’s new album has a different feel; It’s more hardcore compared to the dreaminess found in their old albums. The adjustment in their sound was felt the most during the guitar solos by Lila Ramani and the incredible bass solo by Jesse Brotter during the band’s well known song “Bones.” After putting everyone in a dream-like state, the band concluded with their well-known song “Locket.” Following the show, the pleased crowd seemed to be more relaxed than when they first arrived in the Metro that evening. As the Crumb fans funneled out of the iconic two-story building, many slowly headed home to fill their dreams with a soundtrack by Crumb.