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October 2022

11.4.22 Magdalena Bay

Nov 14, 2022

Mica Tenenbaum and Matthew Lewin, better known as the synth-pop duo of Magdalena Bay, put on a sunny and radiant show at the Fine Line on a chilly Friday evening. The Los Angeles-based duo found a way to make everyone smile and dance despite seasonal depression and the anxiety of finals slowly but surely creeping up on us all. They are currently on the second leg of their first ever headlining tour.

The opener Bayli did a great job of getting the crowd loosened up for Magdalena Bay. Bayli is from Brooklyn, NY, and made sure to give her city lots of love and recognition during her set. Her roughly half-hour set featured an interesting mix of genres, as she sang in a contemporary R&B style on some while featuring some rapping on a few others. I could feel the heavy bass of the speakers from a few row backs, but that’s how I knew I was having a good time.

Shortly after 10, the duo of Magdalena Bay came out on stage and got the crowd excited with “Mercurial World” off their debut LP of the same name. Lewin played the keyboard and guitar in the background, while Tenenbaum sang the bubbly melodies. She wore this bodysuit that matched the blue and pink strobe lights of the stage, and she looked great.

magdalena bay

The projector screen in the background featured a variety of interesting, vividly-colored elements and fast-moving animations that looked like something one might envision while hallucinating.

It added to the almost mystical nature of Magdalena Bay’s music and complimented the glittery pop landscape of their hour-long set.

Following songs like “Secrets (Your Fire)” and “Venice”, there was a little break in the form of a skit featuring a robot-like head on the projector. The robot was talking about how it wanted to be happy, find love, dance, and these other aspects of human life. I was initially a little confused as to why they included this, but after listening to the songs, it became apparent it was to emphasize what Magdalena Bay is going for in their songs: how they want to make their listeners happy and dance.

Following some more danceable anthems like “U Wanna Dance” and “Nothing Baby”, “Chaeri” was next. As the crowd sang the bridge of “Three, four, down to the floor, lose control, little more,” Tenenbaum went into the crowd temporarily on her left side of the stage, where I assume some of the more diehard fans may have “lost control”.

After the constant barrage of happy, celebratory songs, it was time for a little change of mood. She sat down for once while singing the slower “All You Do”, giving the crowd a little time to recharge.

magdalena bay

The end of that song saw the return of the robot head, and the crowd got a kick out of when the robot said “I crave secrets, I have a crush on my friend’s mom.” Right after that, Magdalena Bay went into the fan favorite “You Lose”, and Tenenbaum held a couple of the audience member’s hands during the song. I really love seeing artists give recognition to fans and how something so small can make their entire life.

When “You Lose” was done, she put on this bunny ear accessory for the next song (maybe she didn’t get the memo Halloween was a few days ago) and then went into “How to Get Physical”. When that song was done, the robot returned and said it wanted to dance. That transitioned into the song “Body”, where they brought a mannequin on stage and hooked up a screen to where the head would be, so the robot could have a physical body. It was nothing short of amazingly hysterical.

Once the song was done, the duo left the stage, and the robot asked the crowd to cheer loud for an encore. After we cheered for what felt like forever, they came back out and performed “Killshot”, “Send Me Off”, and “The Beginning” to end it.

Despite “The Beginning” being the final song of the tour, it’s evident it is just that for Magdalena Bay. Their light-hearted and simplistic yet futuristic approach to synth-pop makes them very accessible and the perfect music for a feel-good day. It is impossible for me to feel anything but happy when listening to them, and this tour did nothing but reinforce that. I hope to see Magdalena Bay grow as an artist over the years.

Also, I got a picture with Tenenbaum at the merch table after the show, she’s so sweet!

magdalena bay

by Rogan Isbell