With eight members filling the stage and hundreds of fans filling Thalia Hall, genre-mashing group San Fermin brought its lively mix of indie rock, folk and pop. The Brooklyn-based band put on a show characterized by gorgeous vocal harmonies, animated saxophone solos and good old-fashioned fun Oct. 25.
Indie rockers Bad Bad Hats opened the show with its chill tunes and Midwestern charm. The Minneapolis-based trio shared lighthearted anecdotes between songs adding context to tracks “Nothing Gets Me High” and “Midway.”
On a fog-filled stage, San Fermin began its set with the opening and title track off its new album “The Cormorant I.” Vocalists Karlie Bruce and Claire Wellin, who also played the violin, personalized the track with dramatic vocal runs.
This was the first of many moments that incorporated the member’s personalities into the live show. As Ellis Ludwig-Leone, the lyricist, composer and keyboardist, previously said in an interview with The Phoenix, this is what differentiates the studio recordings from the live show.
Those changes shone in tracks “Saints” from “The Cormorant I” and “Parasites” off the 2015 album “Jackrabbit,” both of which built into a full-on jam session. When there’s eight musicians on stage letting loose, including Michael Hanf on percussion and Tyler McDiarmid on guitar, the playful intensity commands the room.
The band also played songs from the currently unreleased part two of “The Cormorant,” including “Westward” and “Swampsong.”
Saxophonist Stephen Chen frequently stepped to the front of the stage for a saxophone solo, but for the track “Sonsick” off the 2013 debut self-titled album he hopped off the stage. The crowd kindly split to make room for him. John Brandon on the trumpet joined him shortly after in the audience.
San Fermin’s encore included a haunting minimalistic cover of Carley Rae Jepsen’s pop love song “Run Away with Me.” As if the rest of the show hadn’t proved how beautifully Wellin and Bruce’s voices meshed, this stripped cover solidified the dynamic.
The band closed with energetic track “Cairo” off the 2017 album “Belong,” which gave singer Allen Tate a last chance to showcase his crisp vocals.
“The Cormorant I” is available to stream on all platforms.