by Michael Norton
Costumes were encouraged at Crumb’s sold-out Halloween show at The Sinclair, and fans delivered, filling the venue with sailors, skeletons, and everything in between. More than just Halloween excitement, there was an element of pride among the fans, many having proclaimed Crumb as local indie heroes because of their Boston origins. For sure, at Tufts we have a little more credibility to our claiming them as a “Tufts Band,” considering the members of Crumb—singer and guitarist Lila Romani, bassist Jesse Brotter, drummer Jonathan Gilad, and Brian Aronow on synth, keyboard and sax—met and started playing music together while at Tufts. Coming of the release of their debut album, Jinx, Crumb’s homecoming was for sure a cause for celebration.
The first band to take the stage was Shormey, who played an exciting set and primed the stage for Divino Niño, who took to the stage wearing face paint, somewhere between mimes and skeletons (skeleton mimes?). Their set was energetic and took full advantage of the Halloween spirit. By the time they left the stage—and went to staff their merch table in costume—The Sinclair was ready for Crumb.
The stage was decorated with pumpkins, cobwebs, and giant black balloons. Crumb took the festive stage to “Cracking,” the first track on Jinx. Beginning with a bed of slow swaying synths, it eventually erupted into a loud, almost haunting sax solo. It set the tone for the night, acting as a microcosm of the energy of the rest of the show: a series of seamless transitions between Crumb’s bewitching psych rock and their trippy, jazzier style.
Crumb, wearing matching golden wings, was certainly floating through their set, playing songs from Jinx and their older EPs, in addition to debuting a few new songs. Fans with a sweet tooth went home especially satisfied, having a chance to catch some candy tossed into the audience after “Plants,” the first song on their 2017 EP Locket. Romani showered the crowd with treats while Aronow continued spinning a maze-like synth improvisation.
Romani’s guitar and vocals transformed the Sinclair into a dreamworld, lulling listeners into contentment or bringing them singing along to old favorites like “Locket,” and “So Tired.” Crumb members’ wings seemed to flap gently as they played, creating the illusion that they were truly sustained by some supernatural force, or by their own sound.
The sold-out show and successful new records are major achievements for Crumb, a band that has its roots right here at Tufts. The group paid homage to Boston, noting that their earliest songs were recorded here. Their style is unique and dynamic, and their performance enhances its enchanting effect. Crumb’s new material promises more interesting and innovative music, and their cohesion on stage makes them a force to be reckoned with in indie rock.