On Dec. 10, senior Veronica Stewart-Frommer returned to a city and people she calls her home. As the lead singer for Melt and a current Tufts student, Stewart-Frommer and her six bandmates performed past Friday at Brighton Music Hall, a venue packed to see the group on their last leg of their first headlining tour ever.
On Dec. 7, the Daily conducted an interview with band members Marlo Shankweiler, Eric Gabriel and Stewart-Frommer.
Following the release of their successful debut EP “West Side Highway” (2021), the band members discussed their experience touring so far. Shankweiler, who graduated from New York University in 2021, said her experience touring post college has been much better than when she was in school.
“There’s nothing just harder than going back to class on that Monday or finishing your assignments when you’re on the road. It feels like the most arbitrary thing,” Shankweiler said. “We’ll play a sold-out show, and then afterward Eric will be in the green room on his laptop doing homework.”
Gabriel, a senior finishing his last semester at Georgetown, described his busy week of juggling classes and touring.
“This past week was my last week of class ever. Marlo drove down from New York, picked me up in D.C. on Wednesday, I missed the rest of that week of class, … and then drove the rest of the way to Nashville and played a weekend of shows and got back Sunday, back for finals,” Gabriel said.
The quick turnaround from place to place wasn’t the only challenge described by the band members. Stewart-Frommer explained how physical performing can be for her as a singer and the challenge posed by illness on the road.
“I think after COVID our immune systems are so shot — this has been our sickest tour of all time,” Stewart-Frommer said. “We’ve all had sinus infections. I was singing through bronchitis for two months.”
Stewart-Frommer described touring as “a game of endurance” to get her homework done, play the shows and get enough sleep, but she said touring has been a positive experience, especially meeting their fans.
“It’s been incredible,” Stewart-Frommer said. “For the most part, our fans are our age. And they’re so fun. We love hanging out with them.”
Throughout the entire conversation, there was a sense that Melt’s dedication and care for their fans is truly one of their distinguishing qualities.
Shankweiler reminisced during the interview about their most recent weekend of shows.
“People are really there to hear the songs, because we’re so far from home and they’re singing every word to our debut EP which we’ve never performed live before,” Shankweiler said. “People have been listening to this music potentially for four years, waiting for us to come, and we’ve never been here.”
Stewart-Frommer continued to describe how validating the tour had been given the departure in tone and style of their debut EP from their previous singles.
“I think it’s given us a lot of affirmation,” Stewart-Frommer said. “These people come up to us after shows who’ve been listening since the very beginning or heard of us two months ago, and it feels good to know that those people are down for what we’re doing even if it kind of spans genres.”
Gabriel adds that while the tour has been a learning experience, he appreciates exploring new cities and meeting new people.
“The whole tour has been such a whirlwind,” Gabriel concluded. “I think we’ve all just been feeling so, so grateful that we can go to these places, go to new cities that none of us have ever been or had any connection to, and play new music together … We all just feel a lot of gratitude. It’s really special.”
Melt described one of the moments on tour which shocked them the most: a show which they opened in Hamilton, Ohio for a Bruno Mars tribute band called Uptown Funk. They hadn’t expected much going into it, but Stewart-Frommer said it was their biggest show on the tour.
She retold how she “was in the crowd chatting with some woman and she was like, the entire town comes out and just treats it like Bruno Mars is here. We had a full, beautiful vista of, like, 3,000 people on this lawn.”
Shankweiler laughed, saying, “it was the most fun I’ve ever had.”
That sense of wonder and pure excitement came across during their performance at Brighton Music Hall on Friday. During the concert, the genuine amazement and joy on the band members’ faces was striking.
As Melt played one of their softer songs, “West Side Highway” (2021), the crowd was enthralled. They sang along in an air of heartfelt nostalgia while Melt transitioned into “Inside” (2017), which immediately shifted the energy and reconciled the audience with a very evident truth: Melt is an amazing band to watch live.
Watching Melt perform truly reminds you why live music is so special. From Shankweiler’s impressive guitar solos on “Inside” and “Hours” (2021), this author’s personal favorite, to the perfect opposition of Gabriel’s and Stewart-Frommer’s voices harmonizing together, the concert exemplified the power and energy the band possesses.
Totally devoid of ego, awash in charisma, Melt is all about the music, and they do it well. Like, really well. The horns were incredible: rhythmically airtight and charismatic in their solos. Gabriel’s fluid keyboard synths melded with masterful bass lines and a driving drum kit to create something truly unique.
The pull of tracks like “Don’t Want Me” (2021) was gravitational as Stewart-Frommer, space buns and all, delivered out-of-this world vocals. Her personality kept the audience engaged, but it was her powerful and profound voice which enchanted them.
Melt was confident but real. There was a focus on the music and connecting to the audience through the music, which paid off. Their show at Brighton Music Hall was likely one of the best this author has seen, and it makes their fans hopeful for new music and new concert dates after this tour comes to an end.
Stewart-Frommer admitted that about a quarter of their set list for this tour was unreleased music, so there’s definitely an idea that there could be something new dropping soon.
“We’re going to record an album — inevitably,” Shankweiler said.
Until then, fans will just have to wait, but one thing is at least clear: the fans will come. Melt is electric and memorable in a way that few other artists of their stature can claim to be, and their performance at Brighton Music Hall reflected that genuine talent.