WRVU gets an exclusive opportunity to cover press for the Nashville iteration of Crumb’s 2021 tour, Ice Melt on October 18, 2021.

Lila Ramani of Crumb, photo by Adam Tweardy

It’s not often that an artist can captivate the audience so wholly with what initially seems to be a minimal stage presence. That’s not to say that Crumb had no energy when they took the stage at Brooklyn Bowl; they just didn’t need it. When they stepped onto the stage, the venue cheered, but only just long enough to articulate their appreciation for the artists. Afterwards, nobody dared say a word until the music began. Even the other side of the venue (we were in a half concert-venue, half bowling-alley kind of fever dream of a location) stopped, understanding that them trying to get a split in their bowling game was not within the same realm of importance as the first words that emerged out of lead singer Lila Ramani.

Jesse Brotter showing off bass-face, photo by Adam Tweardy

Crumb’s set was a completely foreign musical experience to me. I like loud music. I like stage presence. And I go to concerts to dance and feel caught up in the energy of music. This was not like that. There was no dancing, and the energy that their music emanated was almost eerie and anxiety-inducing, but comforting in knowing that they intended to produce this effect through psychedelic sounds and uncomfortably relatable lyrics.

When I hear something new, I grab onto her close, let me forget feeling so alone.

– lyrics from “L.A.” by Crumb
Lila Ramani staring into my soul a little bit, photo by Adam Tweardy

Crumb is one artist that never fails to astound me with their lyricism–– it’s so otherworldly that I simply accept that their imaginations just don’t function in the same wavelength as mine. They have an admirable quality of building up moments of dread that I often forgot that I was in a concert venue. Rather, it felt more like I had been transported to a different dimension, watching my thoughts splay out into song.

Bri Aronow, melting faces with a saxophone solo, photo by Adam Tweardy

Arguably, perhaps their biggest strength as a band is the connection between music and lyrics. Other artists capture this to an extent. Loud singing for angry moments, quiet for sad, syncopated rhythms for situations where you feel out of control. Crumb’s sound establishes emotions and feelings deeper than that, arpeggiating to accent a mounting and falling feeling of anticipation for some sort of resolve.

Lila Ramani taking a moment for herself in the dark, photo by Adam Tweardy

The opening was equally as mesmerizing as the main act itself. It’s not often that you get to witness an opener that captivates the audience enough to get them to shut up, but that is exactly what Duendita did. A soul singer from NYC, she played up her odd, charming quirks through different live performance effects so she could truly stand out and make the most out of her limited time on stage. At times, she’d bring her voice down to a low bellow, almost like a voice emanating from the heavens. Other times, she leaned in for help from her childhood, as she took samples from the sounds of her childhood that she combined with her partner’s locked-in, emotional performance. I don’t often remember the name of openers, but Duendita now holds a place in my playlists.

Duendita taking absolute ownership of the stage, photo by Adam Tweardy
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Duendita celebrating the end of a fantastic set, photo by Adam Tweardy

The experience of seeing Crumb live was unlike any other concerts that I’ve been to. Crumb is their own thing, doing slow, meandering pop the right way. They evoke real emotions–– good emotions, too. And definitely not ones that stem from pure boredom and a desire to be rolling a six-pound bowling ball into lane number three. With bumpers on, of course.

Listen to Crumb here: