Basement Medicine

Madalia’s less-than-inspiring show

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On Sept. 5, Northern Vermont University- Johnson’s Dibden Center for the Arts witnessed the slightly less than mediocre band that was “Madaila.”

“Madaila” is a psych-pop band from Burlington, Vermont composed of five members, Mark Daly, Willoughby Morse, Eric B Maier, Dan Ryan and Jer Coons.

The members walked onto the stage attempting to rock matching yellow t-shirts, bright blue pants, sunglasses, headbands, beards and man buns like true outdated hipsters. The sight made me weary, however, I thought if their energy could match the look, I’d forgive them.

They began their set with their song called “Nature,” which had a pleasant and chill sound. A few other songs in their set had the same fun and pleasant quality with upbeat tempos and lyrics.

Accompanying these songs was some quirky and amusing dancing between some of the members. The guitarist and bassist every now and again would slowly bop closer to each other sharing a somewhat intimate looking moment before parting again. The keyboardist kicked his leg out a few times and tilted his head back with eyes closed, I’m assuming in attempt to show he was really feeling the music. There was very little to no movement from the other members during the whole set. Overall, their stage presence was nearly on par with their music.

Despite their lack of movement, the audience got up and began dancing by the second number. They kept a decent steady pace for about a solid 40 minutes, then gradually lost interest, like myself.

The lead singer, Daly, demonstrated a somewhat limited voice range, however that’s not to say his voice wasn’t good. Their set, although not terrible, had little variety. Many of their songs were composed of the same stretched falsettos, harmonies and slow bridges. They had a few instrumental songs throughout their set that all had alike tempos. With most of the songs sounding overly similar, five songs felt like one long drawn out song.

To be fair, some of these songs were beautiful, but by blending together they couldn’t very well hold mine or the audience’s attention for an hour and thirty minutes. By the third to last song most people had begun ignoring the band and using their phones or talking to one another.

The real low point of the night began when they decided to cover the song “Don’t You Want Me” by The Human League. Their spin on it was disappointing and sloppy. I understand covers are not supposed to sound identical to the original, but Madaila didn’t seem to know what they were doing with their version as if they hadn’t practiced before going on stage. Singers were missing obvious instrumental cues and it didn’t seem they were doing so intentionally.

Then the horror continued when the lead singer/ guitarist had all other members leave the stage. He then gave a solo tribute to the late Aretha Franklin by disgracing not one, but two of her songs, both of which were slow and painful. I could barely understand the lyrics as he sang them, making it hard for me to even identify which of her songs he was singing.

In the middle of one of these songs, he messed up finding the right chord and actually stopped performing to announce his mess up. This might have been humorous to others. I, on the other hand, thought it was a bit unprofessional and he could have continued without some even noticing he had accidentally used the wrong chord.

Although at some points their original songs helped them from not being entirely disastrous, overall they had little cohesion as a group, lacked energy and had little variety in their music composition. Despite having two guitarists, a bassist, drummer and keyboardist, I don’t recall Madaila actually shining at any point with the exception of one short decent guitar solo by the second guitarist.

For all I know, this could be an entirely pleasing band and I only caught a lesser night for them. I exited Dibden having been more entertained by the older hippy locals’ dancing in the crowd than by “Madaila.”

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Madalia’s less-than-inspiring show