Novo Amor graces San Francisco with dreamlike Indie-Rock concert


Luca Roy

Ali Lacey alternated between his keyboard and guitar throughout the show.

Welsh indie-rock and folk artist, Ali John Meredith-Lacey, professionally known as Novo Amor, arrived in San Francisco after the release of his new album, Antarctican Dream Machine. On Sept. 18, Novo Amor took the stage at the Fillmore, a historic venue built in 1912. Known for being a psychedelic music hub in the 1960s, the auditorium boasts beautiful chandeliers, as well as a state-of-the-art sound system. Novo Amor fit right in with the Fillmore’s reputation; performing with a three-person band and no opening act, he held his own with strong yet whispy vocals on a dreamy stage.

Novo Amor performs at the Fillmore in San Francisco on Sept. 17. (Luca Roy)

Surrounded at center stage by acoustic and electric guitars plus a keyboard, Novo Amor used different instruments throughout the set, demonstrating his diversity as a singer, songwriter, sound designer, and producer. He includes his keyboard in many songs, creating a touching level of depth to these songs. Despite the recent release of his album, Antarctican Dream Machine, Novo Amor performed songs from multiple of his albums such as Cannot be, Whatsoever, and Birthplace.

Novo Amor has a growing fanbase with more than 5 million monthly listeners on Spotify. While the venue was not completely sold out, the floor was full of swaying fans. The main demographic appeared to be young adults, but some younger teens and older fans were in attendance.  

Novo Amor kicked off the show with 2020 single “Opaline”. (Luca Roy)

His vocal range occasionally reaches an unmatchable height, but it wasn’t an issue for audience members, as the concert wasn’t exactly a sing-a-long. While some fans knew every lyric, much of the crowd did not. Novo Amor’s music is able to be deeply enjoyed by newcomers as the layered acoustics are easy to nod along to while listening to the haunting lyrics.

Novo Amor repeatedly interacted with the audience; when front-row fans requested a song, he played it. During the typical monologue every performer seems to give on tour, he threw candy bars into the crowd, joking about his desire for a Twix sponsorship. 

At first listen on Spotify, his music fades into the background, making it a great candidate for study music. However, it is magical when performed live, entrancing the entire crowd. Complex live instrumentals plus a masterfully crafted setlist builds and dips, creating a next-level concert experience. 

Novo Amor plays his hit song “Anchor,” the twelfth song on his setlist. (Luca Roy)

I like to keep messages behind songs vague and not too obvious because I like giving people the freedom to make up their own minds about it,” Novo Amor said in an interview with Euphoria Magazine.

This leeway allows fans to connect to lyrics in personal ways and, in turn, gives the concerts a different experience for every fan. Some fans screamed out their admiration for Novo Amor, encouraging his performance. Others took a more intimate approach, calmly swaying to the beat of the music while humming lyrics. In crowd conversation, multiple individuals shared that Novo Amor’s music had gotten them through a hard time and was a personal stress-reliever. 

The band, typically consisting of four men in addition to Novo Amor, was reduced to three, since guitarist , Ed Tullett, contracted COVID-19 prior to the show. To keep Tullett’s spirit intertwined in the show, his parts and guitar solo were pre-recorded and played along with the band. Tullett’s absence prompted an adjustment in the typical setlist. Aside from Tullett’s recordings, there was no autotune nor artificial instrumentals to be heard. 

Novo Amor performed songs from all four of his studio albums. (Luca Roy)

With his unique vocals and interpretive lyrics, Novo Amor creates an intimate and calmly passionate atmosphere that anyone can vibe to. The close up General Admission view and the uniquely thrilling light show created a unique aura. Novo Amor is a must-see next time he is in town for those who want to enjoy a talented artist.