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The Troubadour of Roadrunner: Stephen Sanchez in Boston - 12.01.23

The singer's 'In Person' tour began on October 19th in Minneapolis and has since concluded its most recent leg, stretching over three months. Stephen Day, not to be confused with Stephen Sanchez, opened Boston's show at Roadrunner. The two Stephens performed on December 1st in a nearly packed venue for their 24th show of the tour.

It's clear from a mere onlook of the concertgoers at the venue (advantageously from my balcony seat) that Stephen Sanchez is more than capable of transforming a standard space into something much greater—sonically and visually.

A photo taken with my film camera in the heat of the pre-show dances could have easily been mistaken for a scene from the 1950s. Fans were in attire corresponding to this period with an assortment of pleated skirts, buttoned blouses, suits, bowties, and collared dresses. At Stephen Sanchez's request, I joined in on the festivities wearing a white button-down with high corduroy pants that were layered with a grey cable knit sweater. Like me, others made sure to accessorize with vintage ornaments, pearls, or even film cameras to capture the scene. In the sea of pinned-up hair and slicked-back side parts, there was a real appreciation for an older American culture not typically fostered in spaces like the Roadrunner.

Stephen Sanchez preforming on stage

Stephen Sanchez has been heralded the "modern-day Elvis" for his sense of style, groovy gyrations, and 1960s-inspired music. Much like Elvis, Sanchez sports a signature black comb-over with haunting vocals born to stun a crowd. And he proves to be a strong force in the music industry having created for himself a new space for fans with an affinity for black and white and retro tastes.

Angel Face, the debut album by Sanchez is played in its entirety as the acting setlist during this tour, detailing the life and death of The Troubadadour in the pursuit of his true love, Evangeline. Obviously, the stories crafted throughout this album are fake with underlying truths used to emulate Sanchez's artist personawhile remaining authentic in spirit. As such, much of the set and outfits were placed in the 1950s as a means of transporting the venue into a place out of time.

Written in bright bulbs and echoed by loud percussion, the beginning of the main show grabbed instant attention with a sign reading "Sanchez Baby!" Strutting in front is Sanchez himself, gripping a microphone stand accompanied by his band members and bellowing fans.

Stephen Sanchez opening his show

"Something About Her," opened the show as an introduction to The Troubadour himself and his newfound obsession. Uniquely, after each song's end, the stage is enveloped in darkness while Sanchez and his band members prepare for the next song. Between blackout interludes, Sanchez kept interest by narrating the story as it was being sung, by reading between the lines of the music. The entire concert served as a devoted eulogy to his character's one true love.

As an audience member, I felt oddly prized by the sentiments directed toward Evangeline, as they were in effect toward us, the fans, admiring from below (and above). This feeling was aided by the content of the stories reading more like a classic film. A classic film set to the tune of ballads, paired with a nostalgic tone, and an incredible voice. Within just an hour, Sanchez managed to create space for love, loss, passion, and murder.

Fan favorites, "High," "Be More," and most notably "Until I Found You," were among the songs to which the most attention was paid.

  1. "High," set to the backdrop of red strobe lights, showed a raunchier, yet more serious side to Sanchez which involved him dancing along the soles of a fellow band member who was playing an electric guitar solo. The sultry words of the track, common to certain token behaviors in old pictures, provided a necessary shift to the feeling of the concert.

  2. In "Be More," arguably the most heartfelt song among the myriad of tunes in the album, Sanchez delivers chillingly impossible vocals to the title of the track, urging for more out of his current relationship. The mood was set with a stripping of the stage, leaving only Sanchez and his microphone to fill the remaining space. Which he did—wonderfully.

  3. "Until I Found You," is a song from 2021 that recently gained traction and unsurprisingly was placed into the album/setlist as a perfect fit for the subject matter of the record. Following his performance, the singer and musicians on stage left their instruments to sing an acoustic rendition of the song, resembling an old singing quartet, with the audience as their backing vocals.

With a name like Stephen Sanchez, it's as if he was destined for this life of fame and class. The primary element which the singer places into his focus is space. His ability to illuminate a space with bright vocals, curate a space with a decorated vision, and properly create space within his music for acute storytelling is a feat that deserves to be celebrated and enjoyed.

The multi-talented artist has since been found opening for artists such as the Jonas Brothers and currently has plans to tour in Europe with his career on the up and up.

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