The Marías: The Come Up


Anthony Grecco

Marquee for The Marías at Buckhead Theatre in Atlanta, Georgia

  The Marías were formed in Los Angeles, California. Maria Zaradoya, the frontman, is from Puerto Rico. She grew up in Atlanta before moving out west where she met her partner Josh Conway, drummer. Though some of the other band members don’t speak Spanish, the band is very experimental, leading to a lot of Spanish-speaking songs. This is something that would be reflected in the crowd later on in the night. The Marías are getting more recognition lately, performing on Jimmy Kimmel live, their debut studio album being nominated for a Grammy, and recently announced they will be opening up for Halsey on a world tour. The show ends up being a soothing and centering experience in a disconcerting time.

  Atlanta, Feb. 11 it’s 6:30 p.m., and the doors open at 8 p.m. Everyone lines up and people start to make sure they have their masks and vaccination card. To enter one must have proof of vaccination or a negative test taken in the last 24 hours. This was the first show since the pandemic started for some and a few concert-goers were admittedly nervous. Looking around, no one seemed to think much of the pandemic. This was everyone’s chance to get away from it for a couple of hours. Attendees Armando and Monti who were standing anxiously in line said this was the second time seeing The Marías before and talked about their show at Terminal West in Atlanta in 2018 and how big of a “come up” this was for the band. Terminal West is a venue with a capacity of 625 people. The Buckhead Theater can hold 1,800 people in a standing room and tonight’s show was sold out. When asked if they were vaccinated and if the requirements of the show affected their attendance tonight. Monti said she would have come to the show even if it wasn’t mandatory but it helped calm the anxiety she had. Armando said he wasn’t “too worried” about it because he felt like other fans of The Marías would be safe as well. 

  Security checked the Vax cards at the doors with IDs, and everyone walks in to stand around the stage. The DJ plays “Yo Voy” by Daddy Yankee before Maye, the opening act takes the stage. This hypes up the mostly Latinx crowd as they sing along to the 2003 reggaeton song, which brings me a bit of nostalgia from living in Kissimmee. Maye takes the stage with her all-women band and the crowd pops for it. All the songs flow and blend together well from her. Maye goes from “Yours” and “My Love”, to “Versos de Placer” as they weave in and out of Spanish. The crowd comes alive when Maye asks if there are any Bad Bunny fans in the building tonight and then drops her cover of “La Cancion” by Bad Bunny and J.Balvin. The crowd becomes untamed as Maye belts her heart out and her bassist throws down. One of the most exciting moments of the night before she sings her last song “Tu” to calm the crowd before transitioning off stage for The Marías to come up. 

  In between sets, Anna, a friend I would make, leaned over and asked if I was alone. I was. She excitedly told me that she was as well and had never seen another solo concertgoer before. Anna asked about how many shows I had been to on my own and about how cool it was to do things on your own. We exchanged Instagram handles to trade photos later but it was clear that people were hungry for social interaction. 



The Marías take stage (Anthony Grecco)

The lights dim and the orchestral “Just a Feeling” starts to play while the band takes their places in the dark and appears to the roar of the vocal track “Calling U Back” moving quickly into the hypnotizing Un Million. When “Habla Con Ella” starts as an intermission, a trumpeter appears who would become a crowd favorite for the night with multiple appearances for songs like “Ruthless”. The crowd cheered for him like it was their personal friend on stage, and he brought smiles to people’s faces. Maria’s voice was just as tranquil on stage as it is on the track. That can be lost in live performances but the venue format which makes the show more intimate helped placate that. The band never stopped being entrancing from “Only In My Dreams” and “Over the Moon” when the spotlight shined on the frontwoman. This was the first time seeing someone perform songs in Spanish, and it made many feel peacefully at home. Finally, the show ends with “All I Really Want Is You” and as the band stepped off the crowd chanted “Otra, Otra, Otra!” meaning “Another!” They took the stage once more to play Hush, their biggest single off the album Cinema and finished with Carino, and pleases the crowd who asked for that specific song all night. 

  As the reintroduction to society happens with mask mandates lifting, venues opening, and people returning to the office. The toll it’s having on people is being undersold. The Marías announced the following day that they were canceling their next performance due to mental health reasons. Everyone should consider a measured approach to this re-entry into “normal” life with ease and at our own pace, for our own sake.