Isabella Tagliati ‘19
Mal Blum was the perfect precursor to the weekend at Jittery’s this past Thursday. Mal Blum, a punk/rock/folk/antifolk solo artist from New York, shook up the Campus Center Garden Level with their music, personal anecdotes and humorous banter on Sept. 29.
The opener for the second Jittery’s of the semester was the euphonic trio of Anjali Kumar ’17, Lydia Ivanovic ’19 and their guest artist Levon Ritter of Hampshire College. The three were greeted by an eager, lively crowd, and they saturated the room with their silky tunes. Ivanovic, who was on the saxophone, and Kumar, who was on vocals and guitar, performed with ease and lightness. The two are in the band “Mishrit”, which may have added to their obvious natural ability to preform and engage the audience. Along with just about every member of the audience, I found myself swaying and nodding to every song.
The songs the three played were each distinct in their own way, with Kumar’s enchanting vocals guiding and blooming within each song. My personal favorite was Ivanovic’s saxophone solo, that filled the room with such rich warmth. It was as if the saxophone itself was singing. Their soothing tunes resonated after every song, exuding a silvery aura. Needless to say, the group was a hit, and I hope to see them preform in the near future.
Blum was welcomed by an enthusiastic audience as they made their way onto the stage on Thursday night. They greeted the audience with a soft smile, chatting up the room as if it were made up of familiar faces. Blum preformed solo, playing with a simple guitar to partner their vocals throughout the night. After the first song, it was clear that the audience was captivated by Blum’s distinct charismatic voice. Between every song, Blum chatted with the audience and exercised their winsome self-deprecating humor, and recounted stories ranging from past lovers and friends to experiences with professors.
It was their vibrant stream of consciousness that created a comfortable atmosphere that pulled the audience together. There were times where Blum stopped playing mid-song to admit they had forgotten what lyrics were next, and then bashfully laugh and mumble until they remembered. These instances were frequent, but they did not hinder their performance. Rather, these instances added to the ambiance of ease that absorbed the audience. Each and every song was followed by rich applause.
There seemed to be many fans among the audience, chirping requests at every pause of music throughout the night. Mal Blum’s music was catchy and upbeat at times. It had the familiar feeling of many summer nights with friends and a guitar. Their lyrics spoke to a range of personal experiences, from endearing and comical subtleties of life to poignant and melancholy self-reflections. My favorite song of the night was “Baltimore.” During this song the audience joined in by stomping and clapping to the beat, vibrating the room with the guidance of Mal Blum’s guitar and voice.
Overall, SEC’s Jittery’s on Thursday night was energetic and full-spirited, and the audience shared laughs. They seemed to thoroughly enjoy both performances, and people left fully satisfied. Blum had an unmistakable organic chemistry with the audience, and sang with a quirky, warm authenticity. At times, their overall performance was fragmented and bumpy, but this added to a refreshingly human feel to the performance. If Thursday night was any indication of what Jittery’s is like, I am looking forward to attending the rest of these wonderful concerts throughout the year!