Adam Melchor at Mercury Lounge (April 10, 2017)

By Ross Bernhardt, April 12th 2017 — with 1 comment Concert Photos Concert Reviews Listen Stream

When I first met Adam Melchor, he was playing guitar in the band Frances Cone (which he still does) at Baby’s All Right on Wednesday, November 16, 2016. It was a spontaneous decision to go out and see the group. I’d listened to some of their stuff on Spotify, and it seemed like a fun weeknight adventure/date night. After the show, we chatted briefly, basic stuff like “Great job! You guys sounded great!” The concert was wonderful, but I didn’t think much more of the encounter. I engage in small talk with musicians after shows often, and this was no different.

Fast forward to February, 2017. Musicians come to play in the restaurant I work in weekly, all filing in and strutting out the same cover songs. On Thursday, February 23, the musician was new, at least to me. When he started playing, I was immediately impressed by his voice. Then he pulled out some truly unique covers: “Love Interruption” by Jack White, “Kansas City” by The New Basement Tapes, even “Same Drugs” by Chance the Rapper. I made it a point to go over and tell him what an awesome job he was doing and how it was refreshing to hear the songs he was playing. Turns out, it was Adam Melchor.

I didn’t make the connection until the following day, when I saw Frances Cone support his new single release on Spotify with a post on Instagram. Coincidentally, he was set to play at the restaurant again the following Thursday, so I took the opportunity to reintroduce myself. Adam remembered, and we hit the ground running, talking about his upcoming trip to SXSW with his band and where else he played around the area. We agreed to stay in touch and connect soon.

Before he left with Frances Cone for their SXSW slate of dates in early March, he played an intimate solo show at The Fox and Crow in Jersey City. In lieu of the cover songs. Adam played all original songs, including everything off his now-released EP. I had already heard a couple of the new songs online, but hearing them in person added so much more depth. In a setting where Adam was surrounded by family and friends, it was surreal to see this person I knew so little about before in such a new and wonderful light.

When I found out that Adam would be performing at the Mercury Lounge to give his EP The Archer a proper release show, I knew I had to be there for the moment. In front of a packed crowd and with a full band of friends (and his sister on backing vocals), Adam played a sterling show that showcased all of his talents. He’s an incredible lyricist, and nowhere is that more apparent than on the first single from his EP, “Brook Revisited.”

The song is about two forms of loss: the first when someone you care about moves, and the second when someone you care about passes on. Adam’s childhood friend, Brook, moved away when they were both kids. Then he met someone later in life that reminded him of Brook, and they became close until his friend’s untimely death. When he shared the story of the song before playing it, he highlighted all of these details that stood out and made their way into the track. Just look at how eloquently he phrases everything in the opening lines:

Have you ever seen someone with dreamcatchers for teeth?
Islands in their eyes and fire in their speech
Hair grown like the willow tree and water runnin’ in their name
and so how could you blame


A river born is water that was meant to move
How could I catch water that ran through my youth
Every day I wonder what you turned into and what you became
Are you the very same?

When all of that is sung with a voice that hangs in the upper registers and sometimes comes in with a beautiful falsetto, it is just magical. The rest of the EP shares the quality of the lead track. The songs are acoustically driven, but with a full band have a wistful, Western feel to them thanks to the use of slide guitar. There are pop flourishes sprinkled in as well on tracks like “Don’t Invest In Me.” His stage presence is just the right mix of confident and humble. The songs he’s written warrant the confidence, and he performs them with great polish and precision.

The thing that captured the ethos for the evening was the band that played prior to Adam, Fire is Motion. He told me he had met them playing basement shows in New Jersey, and the joy with which they played was so evident. Every member of the band was all smiles all the time as they bounced around the stage. It was super fun and energetic garage rock that was so anthemic, and the sense of community and family among everyone emanated from every note. The whole night had the feel that we were in someone’s basement, listening to some really hungry and talented musicians give everything they had.

I am, of course, a partially biased observer, having come to know Adam over the past couple months. But as I’ve introduced his music to my friends, everyone has come away impressed. One friend from college compared him to Ben Howard in terms of sound and songwriting, and I can see the likeness. I’m excited to see where Adam’s career goes, with both Frances Cone (a group with plenty of buzz) and as a solo artist. It’s fun to find new talent from a distance and watch it grow, but when it’s someone you know? That’s something I look forward to discovering.

Adam Melchor is playing some local shows before going out on tour with Frances Cone in May. Check out the dates for both below:

Adam Melchor Tour Dates

4/27 – Asbury Park, NJ
4/28 – Taphaus: Hoboken, NJ
4/29 – Postcrypt Coffeehouse: NYC
4/30 – Fox and Crow: Jersey City, NJ

Frances Cone Tour Dates (with Handsome Ghost)

5/2 – Boston, MA
5/3 – Brooklyn, NY
5/5 – Nashville, TN
5/7 – Dallas, TX
5/9 – Houston, TX
5/11 – Tucson, AZ
5/12 – San Diego, CA
5/16 – Los Angeles, CA
5/17 – San Francisco, CA
5/20 – Seattle, WA
5/21 – Portland, OR
5/24 – Denver, CO
5/26 – Chicago, IL
5/28 – Madison, WI
5/30 – Indianapolis, IN
5/31 – Cleveland, OH

Fire is Motion

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Adam Melchor

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Cape Francis and Adam Melchor at Mercury Lounge (July 14, 2017) at We All Want Someone To Shout For Recent comment authors
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[…] for Cape Francis was Jersey City-based singer Adam Melchor, who I’ve written about here before and seen numerous times. I’ll continue to sing […]

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