Adam Melchor’s soothing spirit hailed ecstasy over San Francisco’s Regency Ballroom on Nov. 18. Eager fans flocked to see Melchor perform as the opener on Noah Kahan’s sold-out Stick Season tour.
Melchor took the stage without frills, stepping into the spotlight clad in a ribbed white undershirt and plain black pants as avid cheers vibrated throughout the venue. Violet lights rained down from above, a phosphorescent glint settling on Melchor’s electric white guitar.
As he eased into the first notes of somber single “Cry,” the crowd grew spellbound by Melchor’s luscious croons. “I know I can be kinda rough on the outside,” Melchor sang with a perceptive smile. “Act like I don’t give a f— when I do.” Melchor did, indeed, present a rugged appearance with his simple crew cut and sleeves of tattoos. Through his rich vocals accentuated by sentimental lyricism, however, Melchor provided fans a window into his inner vulnerability.
The Regency Ballroom took on an intimate feel as Melchor segued into a stripped-down rendition of “Joyride.” Melchor blended signature folk-pop sounds with a series of sonant runs, gazing warmly into the charmed audience.
Melchor leaned into the crowd’s ardor as he paused to teach fans the smooth, soulful refrain to “Rest of My Night,” asking them to sing along with him. An evocative tune full of regret and reminiscence, the track took on a nostalgic sincerity with the audience’s accompaniment.
Throughout his set, Melchor highlighted a series of lyrical collaborations. He credited pop singer Lennon Stella on whimsically pensive “Touch and Go,” exuding a leisurely tenderness to the thrill of the crowd. On “Let Me Know When,” a track co-written by Charlie Puth and recorded alongside Fleet Foxes, Melchor sailed into a poignantly despondent mashup with Keane’s “Somewhere Only We Know.”
Still, Melchor maintained his singularity, incorporating trademark falsetto highs and strikingly impassioned lows into every performance. Dazzling the crowd with acoustic authenticity, Melchor made the stage his own.
An artist known mainly for his melancholic melodies, Melchor showed his versatility on unreleased “Asshole,” a spiteful celebration. “Didn’t need you to complete me, but how was I to know it?” he sang with a sardonic grin. “You’ve never been accused of being easygoing.” With mellow lulls and buoyant strums, Melchor displayed his lively side to a swaying crowd.
“Whoever you thought of during that song…” Melchor said as the track ended, devilishly raising an eyebrow at the audience, “I hope they burn in hell.” Melchor’s magnetic candor drew in wild cheers and stomps that shook the floor of the venue.
Despite playing only seven songs, Melchor made the most of his time onstage. Between tracks, he often paused to address the enraptured audience, cracking jokes and sharing anecdotes. Covering topics that spanned from therapy to psychedelics to name-dropping, Melchor’s wry charisma put the crowd at ease.
Exuberant fans grew frenzied as Melchor announced his last song, the enduring hit “Real Estate.” Dreamy chords rang out as Melchor conjured the romantic simplicity of sharing space with a partner. Midway through the song, Melchor stepped aside to make room onstage for headliner Noah Kahan. The crowd’s roars reached new heights as Kahan took over the second verse before harmonizing with Melchor on the chorus.
Among musical soulmates, Melchor and Kahan may reign supreme. With Melchor’s resonant hums adding depth to Kahan’s rustic rasp, their voices merged in a tender yet gripping union. After a hearty embrace between the two, Kahan left Melchor to bid farewell to fervent fans.
Grinning blissfully into the audience, Melchor twisted his hands into the shape of a heart, which he presented to the audience before exiting stage left. Fans shouted after him, their applause reverberating as starry gazes searched long after his departure.
As light lifted once again over the venue, the crowd remained fixed in a euphoric trance. With lush vocals compounded by vibrant authenticity, Melchor mesmerized the Regency Ballroom.