Crumb won our minds and Divino Niño stole our hearts at Thalia Hall

Not every day do you hear a band that can pull off full harmonies while sprinkling in auxiliary instruments like claves or a lap slide guitar, but Divino Niño executed it perfectly with its six-person ensemble, opening for Crumb at Thalia Hall in Chicago last Thursday.

The band just returned from touring with Durand Jones, having just performed at Thalia Hall last month. But this time, as bassist and songwriter Javi Forero said before the show, they worked out all their kinks on tour.

They captivated the crowd to sway along to their breezy tunes, performing “Maria,” and the sleeker, sexier song, “Foam,” both of which will be on their upcoming album release, Foam, out this summer on June 21st.

Influenced by the songwriting of the Beatles, Latin music, and the sheen production of the late ‘70s Japanese genre “city pop,” Divino Niño also finds inspiration in the Chicago music community.

They were accompanied on stage by Chicago multi-instrumentalists Justin Vitorri (Knox Fortune, Grapetooth) and Luke Henry (Luke Henry, L. Martin).

Their onstage enthusiasm at this hometown show felt like seeing a long-time friend for the first time all year.

Divino Niño moved our bodies with slick love songs and then Crumb took our heads to outer space.

The lights dimmed for their set, soon enveloping the hall in their sound. The band focused more on inviting the audience into a headspace rather than oh, say, rock band theatrics.

They sculpted a soundscape with jazzy drums, watery chorus guitars, and — their secret weapon — a keyboardist who jumped between his keys and a saxophone.

Their set mostly consisted of new songs, which are more focused and concise than their previous two EPs. Singles such as “Nina” and “Part III” show that Crumb is leaning into a fuller, dreamier sound.

The band will also be releasing a new record this summer with their debut album, Jinx. And much like Divino Niño, their songwriting has matured with refined production.

Frontperson Lila Ramani’s vocal delivery reflects a commitment to a dreamier aesthetic. Using her airy timbre as a source of the band’s strength, her melody during “Part III” hovered in the air until it got caught in our ears. New song, “Trophy,” gives way to their jazzy instrumentation and the band more room to breathe.

Crumb planted seeds with their first two EPs and, if their set at Thalia is any indication, they’re going to blossom when they release their debut album.

Foam by Divino Niño will be out on June 21st via Winspear.

Jinx by Crumb, their debut album, will be out on June 14th.

photo by: Kevin Allen