Maru Martinez
Maru Martinez; photo courtesy of Martinez

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Maru Martinez at Pie Shop

Maru Martinez plays the type of instrumental metal/math rock/jazz that will make you either want to pick up a Guitar World magazine or vow to never pick up a stringed instrument. Her handiwork is audible within 10 seconds of each track—Martinez plays more notes in the first minute of a song than most bands play in an entire set. And while her playing is intimidatingly good, the music is not intimidating. Though the influence of shredders like Steve Vai and Joe Satriani looms large in the hallowed hall of Guitar Center, you’re unlikely to see it on stages. Martinez is continuing the tradition of these guitar gods, but the Guitar Hero antics aren’t paired with unnecessary bombast. Songs like “Moonlighter” showcase instrumental prowess, but maintain a very head nodding/banging beat. It’s the type of song that’s approachable to both fans of the genre and the uninitiated. It makes her music an outstanding outlier. If you see her live, you may want to ask how she’s doing what she’s doing. Unfortunately, asking any questions at shows has become more difficult during the pandemic. Martinez agrees: “A big change I noticed is that [COVID’s] made mingling after shows a bit harder,” Martinez tells City Paper. “It used to be my favorite thing to do after a performance—grab a beer with people who came out to the show, or hang out by the merch table just chatting. We can still do those things safely by following protocols, but it’s definitely changed.” Martinez was originally scheduled to play Pie Shop in the fall of 2021, but the show was postponed due to logistical issues. Fingers crossed, the show will go on tonight (Jan. 12) at Pie Shop as scheduled, because, as Martinez notes, “COVID has definitely affected turnout for a lot of smaller, local shows.” So please, get boosted and wear a high-quality mask. Do it for the local music scene. Do it for metal. Maru Martinez plays with The Southern Ocean, Marzy Maddox, and Rest Ashore at 8 p.m. on Jan. 12 at Pie Shop, 1339 H St. NE. $12.