Yves Tumor @ Club Soda – 1 April 2022

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Sean Bowie, better known by his recording name Yves Tumor, does not do anything half-heartedly.  Whereas most touring artists give the house DJ license to just do whatever they feel like until showtime, the 45 minutes between the last support and the headline set sees Club Soda plunged into almost total darkness and smoke, with just a few pink light beams protruding from the stage onto the floor to light the way for those wandering back from the bar or their cigarette break.  On top of that, all you hear is a churning industrial beat over the PA; if Yves Tumor wanted to create an atmosphere, it is most certainly accomplished by the time he hits the stage at 10pm.

In fact, there are no half-measures anywhere with the set either.  Band members arrive on stage one by one through the smoke, with Yves the last to arrive.  And what a sight he is.  Just Google Image Search the name – the guy looks so different in almost every live photo, and I don’t just mean a different tee or hoodie.  We are talking full fits.  Wigs, makeup, the works – Mr Bowie’s more famous namesake would be proud.  Tonight, it’s spooky werewolf makeup & spiky hair, a little reminiscent of Michael J Fox in Teen Wolf, but with spiky leather gloves and a golden spangled jockstrap.  Quite the show already, before a note is even played!

Current single Jackie from 2021’s The Asymptotical World EP kicks things off through the smoke with a bang, eliciting a big singalong from the packed room before Yves starts to prowl the front of the stage to meet the waving palms on Romanticist / Dream Palette as guitarist Chris Greatti (who looks so much like Alice Cooper in this light…) blazes out the first of many solos tonight. It’s a confident artist that can toss away arguably his 2 most popular songs in the first 10 minutes of a show, but that’s exactly what happens tonight, as Gospel for a New Century arrives next in a blaze of strobe lights and thunderous bass, and sounds immense from start to finish.

You might expect things to fizzle out a little after a start like that, but quite the contrary; Crushed Velvet takes things up another level, culminating in a huge section of the floor pogo-ing along to another triumphant guitar solo. Darkwave Siouxsie-esque vibes abound on Operator, as the mantra “be aggressive” surfs effortlessly over a relentless churning bassline, courtesy of Gina Ramirez, which continues on into cntrKerosene! offers a little respite with its slower sultry start, before exploding into life midway through as Yves throws shapes in the smoke over more guitar riffs.  “What a great track that is!” says one guy to his friend, as soon as the song ends.  The show even includes Dad adjectives!

Licking an Orchid gets the biggest singalong of the night so far.  So loud, in fact, that Yves cedes vocal duties to the crowd entirely for the first half, holding out his mic to the raucous throng who duly oblige; every single word.  mtra starts with a Wonderwall riff (some guys behind actually sing those lyrics as the song starts, so it’s not just me!), but evolves into something entirely different, culminating in an epic outro that sees Yves jostling physically with Chris, grabbing him by the chin like he’s going to punch his lights out.  There’s a similar physical vibe on set closer …And Loyalty Is a Nuisance Child before all leave the stage in a flurry of feedback and distortion.

Drummer Rhys Hastings is the first back for the encore, noodling with an intricate drum solo while the rest of the band amble back, before Noid and then Secrecy Is Incredibly Important to the Both of Them close out the show as crowd-surfers take to the skies.  Yves continues the man-handling of Chris, smothering his face in a towel as he busts out his final solo of the night, and credit to the guy, he doesn’t miss a note!  A mesmerizing hour of live music, and a welcome return for Yves Tumor.

Setlist

  1. Jackie
  2. Romanticist / Dream Palette
  3. Gospel for a New Century
  4. Medicine Burn
  5. Crushed Velvet
  6. Operator
  7. cntr
  8. Kerosene!
  9. Licking an Orchid
  10. l&f
  11. mtra
  12. …And Loyalty Is a Nuisance Child
  1. Noid
  2. Secrecy Is Incredibly Important to the Both of Them

Review – Simon Williams

Photos – Ryley Remedios

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