REVIEW: Novo Amor finds power in intimacy at first Los Angeles Show

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Novo Amor

Novo Amor performs at Hotel Cafe in Los Angeles on Aug. 16, 2018. Photos: Matthew Eaton.

LOS ANGELES — Ali John Meredith-Lacey, better known as Novo Amor, performed a secret show at the intimate Hotel Café Thursday; his first in the city. The Welsh singer-songwriter and his band played a no frills set that felt more like a living room concert than a packed club.

Novo Amor

Novo Amor performs at Hotel Cafe in Los Angeles on Aug. 16, 2018.

He opened with the entrancing “Colourway,” a cut from Novo Amor’s 2017 EP, Bathing Beach. Novo Amor’s otherworldly falsetto pierced through the crowd with a particular restraint, until the band opened things up and his voice took on a new power, soaring over heavy drumming.

“Birthplace,” the latest single in advance of Novo Amor’s upcoming record of the same name, came next. Meredith-Lacey gave attendees a treat by performing unreleased songs from the forthcoming album, including a beautiful rendition of the haunting “Repeat Until Death.”

Despite his quiet countenance and laid-back demeanor, Lacey charmed throughout the night, interjecting humorous and endearing banter at all the right moments.

Novo Amor

Novo Amor performs at Hotel Cafe in Los Angeles on Aug. 16, 2018.

Novo Amor

Novo Amor performs at Hotel Cafe in Los Angeles on Aug. 16, 2018.

He found the loudest applause of the night when he announced that this was his first time in Los Angeles. He went on to sheepishly lay out the band’s plans for the rest of their stay, mentioning “looking at houses in Malibu we can’t afford” as the top item on that list.

The best moment of the show was new single “State Lines.” Lacey’s vocals showed limitless range, going higher and higher into his falsetto. The song swelled to a triumphant conclusion, highlighting the diversity of instrumentation behind Lacey, especially violin, which played a prominent role throughout the concert.

Novo Amor capped off the night with a bit of nostalgia, playing “From Gold,” the 2014 song that helped launch his career. Fans sang along passionately. The show ended too soon, as Lacey was just hitting his stride.

Follow writer Matthew Eaton at Twitter.com/MattnSoCal.

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