Magdalena Bay Electrifies at White Oak Music Hall

Written by Leslie Campos

Mica Tenenbaum of Magdalena Bay,
Photo by Torrie Wright

Walking into the venue inside the beloved White Oak Music Hall, the crowd is filled with well-dressed youth all waiting patiently for the act of the night, Magdalena Bay. The group is set to play at 9 pm, meanwhile Matthew Lewin is wearing a brightly colored ensemble of purple and green geometric triangles while he’s setting up. The stage is set up with two keyboards set on either side, color changing string lights decorating their stands. Since there’s no gap between the pit and the stage, the audience is so close that they could reach up and touch the act if they wanted to.

As the show starts, we hear a phone call advising the audience to leave a message at the tone. We hear the thundering of drums as fog and purple lights fill the stage. Out jumps Mica Tenenbaum dawning a coordinating leotard with long and billowy sleeves, and large white platform boots. She opens on her synth while he’s on bass, and so the concert begins with “Secrets (Your Fire)”. As she leaves the keyboard, she engages with the crowd, going from end to end, the audience matching her moves as the funky first song progresses. The duo looks very natural on stage, with just enough theatrics without losing any quality to their sound. The crowd bops along to the song, mouthing every word. Everyone united as the beat drops. As every transition occurs, there’s also pockets where Mica begins talking to the AI behind her on the screen. They discuss what it’s like to be human and what the experience of wanting to dance and jump around feels like.

Mica doesn’t stay in one place for too long, mimicking the fluidity and flow of their songs. As the set continues, so do the lights and feel. Every song they play is super funky in their own individual way, all similar but nothing the same, having a unique color (literally and figuratively). During the concert, we see the artists do minor switches, going from the synth to straight vocals, going from a bass guitar to an electric, and at some point, acoustic. Even ranging from pop to more electronic house type beats. The songs are generally short and sweet so it’s an extensive performance overall. The music makes you either jump up and down or sway side to side, but either way, movement is a must. 

My favorite song of the night would probably be “Follow the Leader”. Mica pulls out a bunny mask, ears standing tall, she takes center stage as blue, purple, and red strobe light go off behind her. It contains a very cute and simple choreography, but I find it to be very effective. Again, the AI provides seamless transitions, breaking every song apart but setting up the plot of the next and does so in a way that is engaging and not aggressive or jarring.

When Mica asks, “Houston, can you feel it?”, the roar of the crowd fills the full venue. This show was my first introduction to Magdalena Bay, and I come out of it a fan. The group is incredibly engaging, they know how to keep a powerful stage presence. I feel like most groups usually have one sound and that’s really all you expect to hear, but Magdalena Bay is much more multifaceted than I could have imagined. Though the songs are a bit shorter, there is little to no breaks in between. And the duo shows no signs of tiring, everyone, crowd and group alike, keep jumping and it felt just as energetic as the start of the show. The show was truly otherworldly, and it was amazing to be an audience member who got to step into that world.

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