Four Takeaways From The Lily & Madeleine Show

Artful photo of two sisters
Indianapolis natives Lily & Madeleine

Stacy Newgent

For those familiar with Indianapolis natives Lily & Madeleine, their show last Friday night at the Old National Centre was a homecoming. The affection for these sister singer-songwriters was palpable right away, with shouts ringing out of “Hi, Maddie!” and “It’s me!” from childhood friends and acquaintances. The message was clear: These stars on the rise may live in New York now, but they’ll always have a home in Indy.

Here are the four things that made this show dreamy:

  1. Their opening act, Brother Bird, is impressively nimble.

This delightful Nashville-based project of singer Caroline Swon started out the night just right. Friendly and earnest without being too serious, their songs eased fans into a night of poignant and breezy music ahead. All this was pulled off with a drummer whose arm was in a sling, no less; Asa Lane earns points for creativity and persistence.

  1. The blood harmonizing is almost eerie.

You can’t mention Lily & Madeleine and not bring up those harmonies. The sisterly bond that the singers share lends a quality to their duets that most of us will never quite understand. For many, it’s the essential draw of their music: a union of voices so otherworldly, it seems it has to have been written in their DNA. In person, the rapport was even more uncanny. The Jurkiewicz sisters—touring in support of their latest album, Canterbury Girls, whose name nods to Indy’s Canterbury Park—hardly even had to look at each other and still they were in perfect sync, down to the adjusting of microphones or fixing of their hair.

  1. L&M can hold a room in the palm of their hand.

There are some musicians that audiences see because they let people sing their hearts out, form mosh pits, dance, or celebrate. Bands that people see for the experience, with the specifics coming second. Lily & Madeleine is not one of these bands. All through the night, the audience stood at full attention, held in the mellow, ethereal spell of the girls’ voices. Orange and red lighting falling on the band from behind, there was an air of everyone crowding around a campfire, not just to hear the story better, but to be closer to the teller. During one song, it almost seemed that all the fans had drifted into their own individual dream worlds, but it was still clear that Lily & Madeleine were providing their centers of gravity. These were people who had come to see something special, and they weren’t going to let anything more than some slight swaying disturb the delicate, easygoing environment the girls had created.

  1. Their closer, “Sea of Love,” is everything.

When Lily & Madeleine crossed the stage to begin for a second time, they confessed that they hadn’t actually prepared an encore. Clearly they had underestimated the enthusiasm of a hometown crowd that has never forgotten their Canterbury girls.

Above the din of fan requests, Lily & Madeleine announced what now feels like the only way a show like this could have ended: a cover of Phil Phillips’s dreamy “Sea of Love.” This is about as close as this crowd could get to a power ballad, and the audience sang along with whimsical earnestness. It was the only time all night that it felt appropriate to sing over the girls’ delicate voices, and for a couple of minutes, an audience of individuals finally became a collective, drops coming together as an ocean: a sea of love.