REVIEW: The Strumbellas @ Paradise Rock Club 11/13

The Strumbellas

The Strumbellas’ performance at the Paradise Rock Club earlier this month showcased every bit of their genre-spanning talent with a high energy show that swept their audience away.

Interspersing some of their alt rock tracks with more folksy music, they used the limited stage space at the Paradise with elegance and zest, dancing around in tune to their beat. They had given the stage a rather oriental look and plastered the back wall with a giant image of the album cover of their latest album, Hope. It transformed the entire venue giving it a rather unique vibe that reverberated perfectly with the band’s energy.

The show was sold out weeks before the performance that led to a highly packed venue that only added to the atmosphere. The band played several fan favorites like “Shovels and Dirt,” “Spirits,” and “Wild Sun,” and even improvised on some songs, adding onto an already brilliant show. They took “Sheriff,” a song that was typically performed in a very country-folk manner, and added a rap to the beginning that involved heavy voice modulation and yet somehow made the contrast work remarkably well. In fact, the entire show involved them transitioning seamlessly from genre to genre, incorporating jazz vibes with alt rock and the blues and a whole lot of country. They even let go of their mics for an entirely acoustic rendition of “The Fire” that mesmerised the entire crowd.

The diversity extended not only to their tracklist, but also to the instruments they played. The inclusion of Isabel Ritchie’s violin on most of their tracks is perhaps one of the most brilliant and unique features of the band, and it showed through very strongly in their live performance as well. Ritchie’s violin solos were among the most fantastic features of the performance and sent chills up my spine. On some of the tracks when Ritchie and Jon Hembrey soloed together on violins and guitar respectively, it created a mesmerising effect that was frankly speaking, quite extraordinary. The violins along with the inclusion of handheld bell percussions included on some tracks exhibited a very wide variety of different vibes that they could accomplish.

The band even tried out a new song to yells of “Just do it!” from the audience, and the crowd was beyond delighted by this. The last track that they played before the encore was one of their biggest hits, “Spirits.” This had the entire audience that filled out the venue to full capacity sing in unison, and it was quite the transcendental experience.

After handing out setlists to some highly delighted fans in the audience, they left the stage briefly before coming back for an encore. The played one of their most energetic songs yet, “Wild Sun,” to conclude the night and asked the audience to “sing with them from the top” towards end. The ended the show with the entire audience yelling, “I’m just waiting on the wiiiildddd sun” along with them, and it was one of the most phenomenal ends to a show that I have been to!


-Kiran Galani