Bethany Macwana, Staff
Feb. 16 – World Café Live, Philadelphia
“Hold her while you can, cause someday you won’t get the chance.”
Walking hand in hand with one of my dearest friends, we make our way down to the World Café Live, ready to enter the world of Stephen Sanchez. The World Café Live might very well be one of the coolest live music venues in the city. This space, which runs as an independent, non-profit, music venue was very neat. The main floor was stocked with a full bar with little bar stools around it. This area overlooks the pit, with the stage set up by the front of the room. Above the bar area, there was a balcony that overlooked the whole space.
My friend and I went to the pit, and we were right in the middle, but all the way in the back. Even though we seemed far from the stage, the venue was not too big, so we felt pretty close. There was a wide range of people in the crowd, from college age students, to older couples there for a Valentine’s date night, to even younger children tagging along with their parents. Even though this was my first time at this venue, it felt comfortable and familiar to me. My friend and I passed the time talking with each other and catching up before the opening act took the stage. It had been a very long time since we had hung out, so it felt nice to fall back into our own rhythm together again.
Before long, the lights dimmed and the opening act Kings Elliot took the stage. Her songs were melancholic as most of them were based on her personal experience with mental health. I did not even realize that she was going to be the opening act, but I am really glad that she was because I really loved her sound. Clear and crisp, her voice carried throughout the space and filled the room. Even though her songs were more of a serious nature, they were definitely songs that stuck with me and something that I would add to my playlist.
Soon the atmosphere changed, and I knew it was going to be time to see the headliner of the show: Stephen Sanchez. The lights dimmed once again, and these round lights on the stage began to shine and they were pretty bright, like a dazzling glow. Soon, the main act himself burst onto the stage. I could tell at that moment that Stephen was a born performer. He immediately captivated the audience with his smooth voice, high energy, and lovable personality. I knew then that this was going to be a great show, and it only got better.
Once he wrapped up the first couple songs, he threw his guitar pick into the crowd, but everyone was too mesmerized by him, no one really noticed. Except me. I bent down, turned my flashlight on, and right by my foot, I saw it! His guitar pick! It was a surreal moment; I really felt like I was the main character. However, truthfully, I felt like I wanted to give it to someone else. Standing next to me and my friend were a teenage couple and since Valentine’s Day had just passed, I figured “love in the air” and gave the pick to the girl, after I was able to give it a kiss and grab a quick picture with it.
Stephen did a great job engaging with the crowd. He sampled one of his new songs “Only Girl,” and even taught the crowd the chorus so we could all sing along with him. Some other sweet songs he sang were “Hold Her While You Can,” “Lady by the Sea” and the song that blew up on TikTok, “Until I Found You.” His energy went all over the place, from a soft crooning lovey dovey voice, to jumping around the stage with his guitar in hand. In between songs, it was cute to see Stephen hug his bandmates and show his appreciation for them.
Something that I also enjoyed during the show was towards the end. His band went off-stage, and Stephen played a few songs by himself with just his guitar. It was a nice change of space, without the flashy lights or heavy guitar or drums. Just hearing him have full control of his voice as he serenaded the crowd. During this time, it was sweet to see the couples hold onto each other and sway to his pretty voice.
Although it was sad to see the show end, it was so magical. The venue had a disco ball, and it was so cool to see an actual disco ball shine and glitter during the last few songs. This was my first being in the presence of an actual disco ball and I am so happy I got to experience it. It really was the icing on the cake. It was the perfect ending to a really fun concert. Even though Stephen Sanchez is just at the starting line of his career, I can tell he is going to stick around for a while and I am excited to see where he goes from here.