Review: Adam Melchor Takes Thalia Hall on the Joyride of a Lifetime

Review by guest author Lorenzo Zenitsky.

I’m sure it's getting pretty annoying lately as I shout from the rooftops about all my Chicago firsts and this review will be no exception. My first show at Thalia Hall was an absolute blast-and-a-half thanks to some wholesome indie fun from the lovely and talented Miloe and Adam Melchor. Although my heart still belongs to the Empty Bottle, I may have to, in a totally pure and innocent way, cut a piece out and mail it to Thalia Hall for safekeeping because holy crap, it is a masterpiece. The ambiance nestled so deep within the venue makes for the perfect backdrop to any show, I would imagine, but I may be biased as any venue with more candles than people automatically gets an A+ in my book. It features the worldly and playful glitz and glamour in a more intimate light that I feel makes it more approachable and endearing in a weird way. What I’m trying to say is that I couldn’t think of a better place to house the quaint and charming sounds of Adam Melchor.

I, embarrassingly, never heard of Miloe before the show Thursday night and I’m willing to take the heat for that. Having now seen his lovely solo performance and having just said how I couldn’t imagine a better venue for Adam, I certainly couldn’t imagine abetter opening act than Minneapolis’ indie prince, Miloe. When I think of Adam Melchor,I think of an artist who makes music that I want to listen to with an iced coffee on an oddly warm fall afternoon with foliage decorating the streets and a slight, heavenly breeze giving motion to the trees. Miloe is exactly that and then some. It cannot be understated how insanely impressive it is to go up on stage as a one-person band with just a guitar and your voice and still have the audience’s complete attention.

I also can’t even begin to overstate how nice it was to see a group of people give themselves away to a one-man show that promised no fireworks, explosions, Tom Cruise on a motorcycle, bombastic drums, or even a lively brass section. Miloe simply promised Miloe and he delivered a damn good time of sweet and tender vocals paired with jangly and bouncy guitar melodies that never once sounded alone and afraid without the backing of a full band. I, unfortunately, didn’t catch many of the song names apart from his closer, “Floating”, which incidentally was my favorite track of his, but that doesn’t mean I can’t wholeheartedly recommend his music for someone who wants a new best friend that they can take on directionless summer drives and late-night thrifting highs. Y’all, go get yourselves some Miloe.

Adam Melchor is an artist I’ve been listening to for a few years now ever since the release of his debut album, Melchor Lullaby Hotline Vol. 1, and he’s just one of those artists that just satisfies this really specific, intense itch. Sure, you may be able to find a wealth of artists that make a similar kind of innocent, coffee shop (this is a compliment by the way!)brand of indie folk but I think you’ll be hard-pressed to find another artist who does it better and with a bigger smile than Melchor. I mean, his walk-on music was “Somewhere Over The Rainbow”! It literally doesn’t get more wholesome than that,folks.

The set started off with a joyful and crushing performance of “I’m Afraid I Love You”, the opening number from his brand new album, Here Goes Nothing, which came out in October of last year. Even if you only know one or two Melchor songs, it’s easy to hear that his songs usually don’t have the backing of a full band. Most of his songs tend to feature just him and his guitar gleefully whisking the listener away on a rainbow ride of romantic and heartfelt indie folk only sometimes backed with some light horns or a spacious string section, but usually never anything more than that. Hearing Adam perform quiet and soft songs like “I’m Ready”, “Moon In The Morning”, and “Start Forgetting Death” with the full backing of the bombastic drums, energetic guitars,electrified bass, and supreme backing vocals of his live band completely changed the way I not only looked at his songs but also Adam himself as a songwriter and performer.

The night was very much in dedication to his new album, Here Goes Nothing, as many of the songs performed that night were fresh off the presses for some of their very first performances. I already mentioned the beautiful “I’m Ready” as a performance highlight from that album, but I can’t forget to shout out “Rest Of My Night”, my absolute favorite Melchor song. There’s just something about the song’s “sultry New York City jazz bar at 2am” vibes that pull me in like no other. Luckily that vibe was very much still intact Thursday night as its cheerful melodies swung from ear to ear eventually ending in one of the night’s few big sing-a-long moments where Adam conducted the crowd through the song’s ear-wormy chorus until he was absolutely positive every note was ingrained permanently in all our skulls.

Sprinkled in between most of the night’s performances was Melchor’s one-in-a-million sense of humor and personality. There was no shortage of comical crowd interactions and hilariously tragic stories that Adam was either vulnerable enough or crazy enough to share with us all. Either way, these interactions went a long way toward making the show as memorable as it could be and I, speaking on behalf of everyone in attendance that night, couldn’t thank him more for it.

Adam Melchor closed out the night with some bonafide Melchor classics from way before he had his first album. 2019’s “Joyride” brought the energy the night needed right before the encore and seeing Adam walk back on stage in a lovely befitting dress to perform his all-time number one hit, “Real Estate”, surely gave everyone in the audience something to write home about. As for his final song, we were graced with a very special and heartwarming performance of his 2021 single “Light Year”, a song that I take to be about personal improvement and never wanting to stop being the best version of yourself you can be. A sweet message wrapped up perfectly in a sweet little bow of a song that made for just the sweetest end to an already sweet-as-heck show. The only way the night could have been any better was if it wasn’t a hellish and windy 8 degrees outside. Curse you, Chicago winters!

This review of Miloe and Adam Melchor's show at Thalia Hall was written by guest author Lorenzo Zenitsky.

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Lorenzo Zenitsky

Lorenzo Zenitsky is a Chicago-based software engineer, amateur bedroom metal musician, and a semi-frequent drinker of coffee but only if it's iced. If he's not admiring his terrible Simpsons tattoos in a gently cracked mirror, he's usually at a local show vibing to great tunes and abhorrently priced beer. $15?! Get outta here...