By Elizabeth Solleder
30 July, 2019
Mauno. I like them. A whole lot. I first saw the Montreal via Halifax group at my hometown tiny indie music festival, Valley of the Vapors Independent Music Festival, and when I saw that they had announced a date in Chicago, I jumped on it as soon as I can. I counted down the days to the show. The night of, I walked into a sparsely attended Schuba’s at 10 PM, hoping to see a larger crowd in the stage area. There wasn’t. About 20 people stood at varying and far between distances from the stage. This made me sad. But not for long, because that meant I got to stand front row (!) and watch one of my favorite bands play.
This time around, original duo Nick Everett (guitar, vocals) and Eliza Niemi (bass, vocals) were joined by Elise Poirier on guitar and Jeff Kingsbury on drums. As self described “weirdo pop-rocks” Mauno breezed through a set that was simultaneously incredibly relaxing while also rib-cage rattling-ly loud, punctuated by interesting rhythms and creepy-lovely lyrics. Their music is surprising – one beat you’re hypnotized by the gentle harmonies and soothing verses and the next you’re shaken into an ultra-noise double-guitar jam. I love it. It gave me chills.
My favorite tracks were Helah and Take Care, but the best part of the show happened in between songs. My friend who attended the show with me awarded Mauno the “best banter I’ve ever heard” title, which was well deserved. As audience and band, we talked about hats, poops, boasting, and self-confidence in between songs. I was smiling the whole time. Just as important, we also discussed Mauno’s tour, which started only the day before the Chicago show, as well as their upcoming album, which is set to release August 2nd, according to Everett. After Chicago, they’ll travel through the Northeast, visiting Ohio, New York, and Maine, before returning to their homeland and hitting Ontario and Quebec. I highly recommend attending one of these shows, streaming Mauno’s new album, buying their merch, getting to know these Canadian sweetheart-geniuses. If you’re looking for underrepresented music that you’ll want to listen to all day, this is it.