Live Review: MAKS THE FOX at Subterranean in Chicago

Material: MAKS THE FOX are an eclectic quintet who have a folk rock sound with an indie edge. They consist of two lead vocalists, keys, guitar, viola, cello/bass and drums. Lush vocal harmonies and the additional use of harmonica and small percussion instruments, like shakers, round out the sound. The drummer, Jacob Fawcett, was not at the Subterranean show. They set up a bass drum anyway to symbolize his presence. Aside from a few unreleased songs, most of the set list was from the band’s 2013 self-titled debut album.

Musicianship: There is no doubt that MAKS THE FOX are a group of talented musicians. The band originally began as a singer/ songwriter duo comprising Simonson and Aguilar. They are solid songwriters and sound great singing together. Cornish and Schuldt are both wonderful string players and backing vocalists, and they truly add another dimension to the band’s sound.

Performance: The quintet played to a growing crowd at the Subterranean as the audience filtered in for a national touring act for whom they were opening that night. The band started off their set with “On Your Own,” an alternative indie rock tune with a catchy melody. “Babe” had a classic Tin Pan Alley feel to it, but with
 a modern, rock twist. Their song, “2 Friends,” was dedicated to a couple of friends who were getting married. It had an interesting pizzicato passage on the cello during the breakdown. Aguilar took over lead vocals on “Love is a Fire,” singing a lovely, sweet melody while the women sang gorgeous backing vocals creating a four-part harmony with the melody. “Kid,” which had a roots rock feel, was a new song for MAKS THE FOX. It was an outro that became a song during their recording session. The rockin’ “Come Around,” with its quirky keyboard riff, was a great ending to the set.

Summary: MAKS THE FOX are good musicians with lyrically insightful songs. They have a diverse sound that spans genres from folk to jazz to rock. While their performance is not filled with crazy stage antics and wowing displays of virtuosity, the music is left to speak for itself and that’s just fine.

The Players: Kori Simonson, guitar, keys, vocals; Marlon Aguilar, vocals, guitar; Sarah Cornish, viola, vocals; Rachel Schuldt, cello, bass, vocals; Jacob Fawcett, vocals, drums.

Venue: Subterranean
City: Chicago, Il
Contact: maksthefox@gmail.com
Web: maksthefox.com

Photo by Mary Lemanski