Sporting a daring new haircut (don’t worry, his floppy curls are still intact), Mikky Ekko was met by throngs of screaming girls packed into the Rickshaw Stop on Saturday night. John Stephen Sudduth paused after a few songs to explain, in his charming Nashville drawl, that his band—not just him—is collectively Mikky Ekko. “They’re my family—you guys are all our family”.

Headlining for the first time in San Francisco, Sudduth seemed to be familiar with the effect he has on his largely female audiences. As a pop soul singer with a small town southern gospel background, the appeal really comes from the head-turning intensity of his voice. From belted cascading runs to whispered vulnerable choruses, he doesn’t hold back in the slightest. Sudduth sets himself apart from typical pop with unwavering skill and a kind of powerful desperation he works into his personal and deeply relatable love letter lyrics. A great listen for the dark autumn nights, check out his upcoming tour dates here.

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