Metro Gallery in Baltimore recently hosted a three-act bill that I had to check out. It was The Dregs, followed by Burial Waves, with Spotlights headlining. I was there for Spotlights, but I love seeing the opening acts. I was surprised to discover that none of the bands sounded remotely similar to the others. While The Dregs had a stoner/doom sound, Burial Waves leaned more to the emo/post-rock sound. The headliner, Spotlights, is more along the lines of doom-gaze and sludge.
Check out the official music video for “Sunset Burial” by Spotlights on YouTube to get an idea of their sound.
One of the most unique things about Spotlights is the members. The band is a trio composed of married couple Mario and Sarah Quintero on guitar and bass, respectively; and Chris Enriquez on drums. Mario is the main vocalist and Sarah provides backing and occasional lead vocals. Chris doesn’t sing at all.
Spotlights has been on tour since April 26th and it shows, in the best ways. At Metro Gallery on June 22, the set began with several songs from the newest album. But as the show progressed, the band mixed in some older tracks. They opened their set with “Repeat The Silence,” one of my favorite tracks from their new album, Alchemy For The Dead, and the song I was most excited to hear live. It’s a slow-tempo song with a bass line reminiscent of something from Failure’s Greg Edwards.
But slow tempo doesn’t mean low energy. Spotlights achieve the exact opposite. The connection between Mario and Sarah is obvious, even if you didn’t know they were married. Touring for extended stretches only enhances their ability to play off each other and anticipate what’s next.
After listening to the new album for a while, I was really excited to hear how the band translated such dense music to a live performance. I was not disappointed. The band was able to keep the songs faithful to the album but just a little bit more raw. That’s the sweet spot for me.
Mario’s guitar prowess was on display as he tore through the set. And Chris’ drumming was thunderous. Sarah was just a monster on bass. While Mario is usually at the mic and Chris is obviously seated behind his kit, Sarah becomes a maniac on the stage. I haven’t seen that much headbanging since Metallica in the early ’90s. And when Mario stepped away from the mic to interact with her, it got pretty intense. I definitely get the feeling that the entire band gets lost in the music, possibly forgetting where they are. It made for a great show. And the crowd fed off of it, for sure.
As the set progressed, the audience got louder and louder with their applause.
The entire show ended with Chris bludgeoning his drums, Sarah pushing her bass almost through her amp, and Mario huddled in front of the stage monitors, trying to coax some kind of spirit from his guitar. It was magic.
If you missed Spotlights on this tour, do not miss the next. Check out But after three months of traveling, let’s let them get some rest.
For more information on the band, or to grab their albums, check out their profile on Ipecac Recordings’ website and keep up with them to catch them on their next go around.
- Repeat The Silence
- The Alchemist
- Sunset Burial
- False Gods
- Part II
- Learn To Breathe
- Until The Bleeding Stops
- Ballad In The Mirror
- Part IV
Here are some photos of Spotlights performing at Metro Gallery in Baltimore on June 22, 2023. All pictures copyright and courtesy of Marc Shea.