Melt Put on Triumphant Hometown Show at Webster Hall
October 21, 2022
Melt – Webster Hall – October 20, 2022
During “Waves,” the opening number of their show at Webster Hall on Thursday night, Melt’s lead singer, Veronica Stewart-Frommer, sang, “That I’m sad” and later, “I feel alone,” proclaiming in the chorus, “I’m not coming back home.” As it turned out, absolutely none of that appeared to be true, for the night at least, the band celebrating a tour-ending homecoming in New York City with an infectious joy in front of a buoyant packed house, back home and certainly not alone. That first number encapsulated Melt’s appeal: bursts of horns, a groovy twist of bass, spring-loaded guitar and Stewart’s vocals effortlessly bouncing from one style to the next in surprising is-this-still-the-same-song? fashion. In just the first couple of songs, Melt weaved funk, soul, ska, rock, prog and more into their set, moving from one interesting permutation to the next as a single unit, the group’s name appropriately describing the ease in which they transitioned from one to the other and back again in a single tune.
Melt’s first full-length is still a work in progress, their catalog is a series of singles released over the past few years, but that was enough to fill the room with dancing faithful who sang along with Stewart, who exuberantly reminded them that “Melt is a live band.” “Inside,” an older song, showed the comfort of a few years on the road, a straight groover that had the room’s heads bopping in unison, the vocals going on an excursion through multiple octaves before the band flipped the sound, an almost electronica-instrumental section ensuing, guitarist Marlo Shankweiler unleashing a heady now-we’re-a-jam-band solo as the horns expertly hopped in at just the right moment. But their newer materials was equally as strong, the just-released “Fade into You,” with Eric Gabriel on lead vocals, was true to its name, multiple genres fading into one another, sounding almost like two or three songs piled together, Shankweiler again impressing as she led the band through several left turns before opening into an old-school drum solo, then drums and bass, leading to a crowd-flips-out return of the entire band.
The set ended with a debut cover of “Harvest Moon,” the group extracting a groovy Melt light-up-the-disco-ball dance number from a Neil Young folk tune, paying deference to the original while making it their own, as the best covers do. Insofar as there is a Melt “hit,” it was clearly the show-closing “Sour Candy,” which had the entire audience singing along at full volume, another guitar jam, another boogie-down horn riff, and Stewart singing, “I cannot help but wonder / Are you ever coming home?” everyone in Webster Hall quite certain that they were already there. —A. Stein | @Neddyo
Photo courtesy of Sasha Abraham | @SashaSeesShows