Pillbox

Hey Marseilles delivers intimate concert

Lead singer Matt Bishop accompanies the main vocals on tambourine. (credit: Courtesy of Chris Skaggs) Lead singer Matt Bishop accompanies the main vocals on tambourine. (credit: Courtesy of Chris Skaggs) Hey Marseilles uses a variety of instruments, including guitar, bass, viola, cello, keyboard, accordion, and trumpet. (credit: Courtesy of Chris Skaggs) Hey Marseilles uses a variety of instruments, including guitar, bass, viola, cello, keyboard, accordion, and trumpet. (credit: Courtesy of Chris Skaggs)

Despite playing at The Underground for a crowd of around 50 people, indie folk band Hey Marseilles delivered an intimate and engaging performance last Monday. They took the stage 30 minutes later than the announced start time since the sound check had taken too long. The concert opened with a disjointed collection of instrumentals that turned into the song “Marseilles,” an instrumental lead into “To Travels and Trunks,” the first two songs of their first album of the same name.

After a brief slow piece called “Gasworks,” Hey Marseilles pulled out a few uptempo songs like “Heart Beats” and “Dead of Night,” both from an album released last month called Lines We Trace. These tracks got the audience engaged in the show and caused many of the concertgoers to start singing along.

Despite the small crowd, there were few concertgoers who just seemed to be along for the ride. It seemed as if everyone in the crowd wanted to be there and had known about the band for some time. The intimate environment had the audience swaying and singing to the beautiful and intricately layered music that the seven members of Hey Marseilles created with even more instruments.

Nearly every member of the band played multiple instruments throughout the night: The lead singer played guitar and shared a bass with the cellist, the keyboardist played an accordion, and a versatile trumpeter who took up miscellaneous percussion as well as clarinet.

As the night wore on, lead singer Matt Bishop developed a level of comfort with the audience as he shared jokes regarding pirating the band’s music and the national renown of Carnegie Mellon’s awkward computer science majors.

The band ended its set with a rousing and emotional performance of the single from their most recent album called “Bright Stars Burning,” and a lengthy piece from their first album called “From a Terrace.” After an elaborate interplay of accordion, viola, and trumpet, the song dissolved into a soulful acoustic guitar and vocal segment.

Yet the dedicated audience wasn’t satisfied with a single set and the promise of free ice cream, so Hey Marseilles was called back on stage for an encore. Bishop came on first and did a solo performance of the track “Someone to Love,” a soft and melancholy song about being satisfied with the person you’re with. After that, the full band came on to perform “Calabasas,” an intricate, layered piece that features a beautiful and consuming ending full of viola, cello, trumpet, and keys.

Hey Marseilles delivered a soulful set to a small crowd of truly dedicated fans. The entire experience was similar to that of fan girls seeing their favorite act in a very intimate venue. The Underground saw a rare show that left everyone satisfied and the most enamored of fans loving Hey Marseilles a little bit more than they did before the concert.