Music

Magdalena Bay Transforms Lincoln Hall into their ‘Mercurial World’

Liam Martel | The PhoenixMagdalena Bay vocalist Mica Tenenbaum wore an eclectic bodysuit and served as the audience’s guide during the synth-pop set.

Magdalena Bay dazzled audiences in Lincoln Hall Feb. 25 with an immersive performance of their debut album “Mercurial World.”

Opener Cecile Believe set the tone for the night as she sauntered around the stage with an air of playful irreverence. Her angelic voice juxtaposed against her provocative movements made for a compelling opening act.

A highlight from Believe’s set occurred after a fan barked at her. This unconventional form of song request turned out to be a reference to her hit song “Bitch Bites Dog.” Believe flirtatiously replied, “Don’t tell me what to do,” before signaling her DJ, Brad, to start the song.

Liam Martel | The Phoenix Opener Cecile Believe rocks out on stage to start the night.

The song exhibited her lyric’s trademark raunchy charm accompanied by a bouncy, energetic instrumental.

“Better get home and satisfy before this / Bitch bites dog,” she sings on the track.

She wielded her high ponytail like a whip that would cut through the air with each crack of the beat’s heavy drums. As the song climaxed, she playfully barked into the mic in the direction of the demanding fan.

The audience’s murmurs of unfamiliarity at the show’s start were quickly stomped out by Believe’s spirited and memorable opening act. Following her absence, an excited chatter of approval could be heard hovering amongst the crowd. 

As the lights dimmed, fans gasped as a floating, computer-generated head materialized on the screen above the stage. The head would later be introduced as artificial intelligence (AI) named “Chaeri.”

Liam Martel | The Phoenix Magdalena Bay perform under a green hue for their Feb. 25 set.

Chaeri’s appearance opened a digital portal that invited fans to leave Lincoln Hall behind and enter into the band’s “Mercurial World.” The duo, comprised of instrumentalist Matthew Levin and vocalist Mica Tenenbaum, has an addictive synth pop quality to their music.

Tenenbaum quietly crept onto the dimly lit stage before whispering “wake up” into Levin’s ear. As he raised his head, the stage was flooded with multi-colored lights and Tenenbaum recited the album’s intro “The End.”

She would serve as the audience’s guide through the immersive performance of the album. The title track “Mercurial World” revealed the seamless connection between her ethereal, airy vocals and the album’s synth-heavy instrumentals helmed by Levin and drummer Nick Villa.

Tenenbaum floated around the stage like a shimmering techno fairy with energetic pop songs flowing from her like magic. The bewitched fans swayed in unison as the band played the subsequent tracks “Dawning of the Season,” Secrets (Your Fire)” and “You Lose!”

“Something for 2” highlighted the incredible chemistry between the duo as Tenenbaum serenaded Levin with lyrics that pleaded for a partner to let down their walls.

“Instead of you keeping me out / We could build something for two or watch me drown,” she sings on the track.

During the song “Chaeri,” she descended from the stage into the crowd, parting them as she made her way to the back of the venue. The song’s upbeat instrumental starkly contrasts its dark lyrics about feeling inadequate in a friendship with someone with depression.

Liam Martel | The Phoenix Vocalist Mica Tenenbaum locked her hands with an eager sea of fans in the audience at one point during the duo’s pop set.

“Halfway” served as a narrative shift for the performance as Tenenbaum said goodbye to the AI she had regularly conversed with throughout the show. 

On multiple occasions, Tenenbaum reached out from the edge of the stage to find a sea of hands desperately grasping back at hers. She reciprocated the enthusiasm by interlocking her fingers with multiple lucky fans.

Although Tenenbaum occupied most of the crowd’s attention, Levin’s talent was equally impressive. His guitar, bass and keyboard notes sent tendrils of sonic energy surging through the venue and electrified the crowd. 

The lively fans remained engrossed with the duo throughout the remainder of the album’s songs stretching from “Hysterical Us” to the closer “The Beginning.” The encore performance included “Only If You Want It,” “Good Intentions” and their viral hit “Killshot.” 

The band’s departure from the stage may have forced fans to return from the “Mercurial World,” but after such an incredible performance, it’s unlikely they’ll ever forget their visit.

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