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The Scarlet & Black

Only some affection for The Blow

By Elise Gallant

Last Friday, Grinnellians packed into Gardner Lounge to see The Blow with opener The Apple and the Oak. It was an impressive turnout both for the student opener and the electro-pop headliner.

Mikhaela Yvonne Maricich of The Blow sings during her concert in Gardner Lounge last Friday night. Photograph taken by Daniel Penny.

The Apple and the Oak is comprised of Erik Jarvis ’12 and Maia Pillot ’12, who both sing and play guitar. Jarvis also accompanied some of the songs on keys. They performed with Quinn Underriner ’14 on bass and Brita Higgins ’11 on drums. These additions filled out the sound of the group’s feel-good indie-folk arrangements.

Their set included a mix of cover songs and originals. Both Pillot and Jarvis write music for the Apple and the Oak. “Vivid Dreams” combined Pillot and Jarvis’s writing styles, while a crowd favorite, “The Answers,” is Pillot’s original.
“I like playing my song, ‘The Answers’, mostly because most of my friends know it and sing along with me, which is a treat,” Pillot said.

The concert was very informal. Underriner, Pillot and Jarvis stood on the floor with the crowd while they were playing guitar. In the middle of one track, Casey Judson ’14 fed Underriner a drink while he kept the beat on bass.

This casual vibe continued once Mikhaela Yvonne Maricich of The Blow took the stage. She opened her set with a soft a capella croon, one which grabbed the audience’s attention and prompted many of the women in the crowd to flood to the front of the stage.

Maricich stood tall in an overlarge, white shirt draped loosely over her slight frame. Lights colored the back of the room with orange, yellow and green, while the front was washed in a blue glow. Apart from a mic stand, Maricich was the only figure on stage, a set-up that made the show particularly visually graphic.

The audience was very familiar with The Blow’s music. People bopped along to the songs and joined in with the lyrics. Maricich’s soft voice cut over the glitchy lap-pop tracks. She accentuated certain words with soprano tones.
Between songs, Maricich relayed stories about her music, predominately referring to a project which she completed with a “lesbian musician” who she assured us we were all familiar with even though it was unlikely that we listened to her music.

The supposedly anonymous singer was eventually easily identifiable as Lindsay Lohan, who worked with Maricich on a compilation album until it was cancelled due to Lohan’s recent arrest.

Maricich’s accounts offered intimate detail into the actress’s life, such as how Lohan felt about her recent heartbreak and how she first came out to her parents.

These monologues rivaled the music as entertainment. Maricich displayed her heels to the audience, explaining that they had been gift from Lohan. She then let her hair down, tucked her shirt into her tight jersey skirt, and demonstrated her impression of a famous pop icon.

Some audience members found Maricich’s infatuation with Lohan tiresome and shouted for more music. Yet despite their frustration, the majority of the crowd remained energetic and attentive to Maricich’s performance.

“Parentheses” was a particularly popular song ,which Maricich prefaced by combing out her hair and then wrapping it up so that it fell across the side of her head. The sweet yet revealing lyrics mirrored Maricich’s comments between songs. Maricich closed her set with “True Affection.”

In the end, The Blow’s performance was intimate and heart-felt, albeit slightly indulgent on Maricich’s part.

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