Concerts

Mamalarky Touring With New Music and New Members

Dylan Hill, Livvy Bennett, Michael Hunter and Noor Khan of Mamalarky.
Dylan Hill, Livvy Bennett, Michael Hunter and Noor Khan of Mamalarky. Sara Cath
Livvy Bennett, the 26-year-old lead singer of Atlanta-based indie-rock quartet Mamalarky, reveals that she has no plans to join the "27 Club," noting that too many musicians, artists and actors have passed away at that tender age. Instead, Bennett has big dreams for the band and her career.

Now on the second half of a U.S. tour, Mamalarky is thrilled to be back playing live shows. After putting out a self-titled full-length debut in November 2020, the group has been eagerly awaiting the chance to get back on stage. "For the past two years, it's been like, 'I wonder when we’ll get to do this again,'" Bennett says.

The band will be at Globe Hall on Tuesday, November 9, with Slow Pulp.

Mamalarky was formed in 2016 in Austin by Bennett and drummer Dylan Hill, who have known each other since they were kids. For the two friends, 2016 was full of house shows and college parties while Bennett studied music business and recording at the University of Texas.

After graduating in 2017, Bennett moved to Los Angeles, looking to continue in music and in search of more people to play with. In 2018, while scrolling through Tinder, she met bassist Noor Khan. Then came their friend Michael Hunter on piano and synth, then their album, then COVID-19.

The second leg of the 2021 tour will focus on the southwestern and western United States, with one stop in Vancouver; the eastern half marked the band's first live performances since the whirlwind of adding Khan and Hunter to the mix and releasing an album.

When they left Atlanta, the bandmembers had no idea what the crowds at their shows would look like — "I have no clue what to expect," Bennett said at the time — or what it would be like to play the songs from their album.

For her part, Bennett is just happy to be playing the music now that it's been released, and looks forward to having an audience sing along with her. Mamalarky's songwriting is a standout element of its music, with the majority of tunes comprising personal lyrics interwoven with dreamy synth melodies and wrapped in a vintage sound that might as well have been recorded on cassette tape.

Two songs that diverge a bit are "Big Trouble," an ’80s-flavored electric tune, and "Singalong," a riff-laden instrumental that emphasizes the bandmembers' guitar skills.

Mamalarky played "You Make Me Smile" at shows before it was officially released, and it's a song that Bennett says is sometimes difficult for her to perform. "It’s kind of about being infatuated with someone in a way that’s kind of heavy. Maybe the timing is wrong or whatever," she explains. "It was spurred by this time that I was in a park, just thinking about that. I ran into this woman who brought me a lot of joy and knew my music, and I was like, 'Wow this was weird.' It was a heavy point in time."

Another thoughtful tune, "Schism Trek," recalls a time when Bennett was touring with another band and away from loved ones. Things felt very out of place for her, and she questioned the sustainability of a career path that involves so much travel when she values being around friends and family so much. "Sometimes nothing feels right, but you have to trust it," she says. "If you’re questioning things, it’s part of the long trek of life."

As for the band's own journey forward, Bennett hopes to record a second album and to eventually tour internationally. The group's dynamic makes it easy to travel together. "We really understand each other to the core," Bennett says about her relationship with Hill. "Noor kicks ass when it comes to touring, because she tour-manages and knows her way around that world. Michael is very musically prolific. We’ve all learned a lot about each other.

"We’re in a really good stage," she adds. "It’s basically like vacation. I am really excited to go to Denver."

Mamalarky will be at Globe Hall, 4483 Logan Street, on Tuesday, November 9, with Slow Pulp. For tickets, $15, and more information, go to globehall.com.
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Katrina Leibee, a recent graduate of Colorado State University, is an editorial fellow at Westword, covering politics, business and culture.
Contact: Katrina Leibee

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