Power chords, dissonant soundscapes and Yves Tumor

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Power chords, dissonant soundscapes and Yves Tumor

Credit: Andrew Faram
Words by Staff Writer

You'd expect an Yves Tumor concert to be eclectic and at-times challenging and that's exactly what Tumor delivered.

They’re one of the faces of the contemporary avant-garde movement, an increasingly boundary-pushing alt-pop-fusion that melds anthemic power chords and dissonant soundscapes.

Tumor performed almost the entirety of his 2023 LP, Praise A Lord Who Chews But Which Does Not Consume (Or Simply, Hot Between Worlds) at the Forum, with a brief interlude for a massive stadium-ready rendition of Gospel for a New Century, plus similarly energetic performances of Jackie and Kerosene!

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There was certainly enough variety. We ran the whole gamut of experimental, electronic, noise, rock, and R&B alongside them. While their voice faltered at times, their backing musicians and lighting were both exceptional.

Tumor’s voice was a different experience live, at least in Melbourne. It’s a little hard to tell to what extent the very pronounced coughs were an artistic device unto themselves, but certainly, their smoke-shrouded claim that ‘there’s something wrong with this stage’ didn’t lend itself to an easy set.

Nevertheless, Tumor’s stage presence was certainly a level above your average strutting performer. Topless and interacting intimately with the crowd – including an extended series of lively encounters following the encore – Tumor may not have been the once-in-a-generation live performer that they’ve previously been billed as, but the hints were there and numerous.

The Prince comparisons make a lot of sense, and just that statement alone makes them worth the price of admission. But there’s so much more than that – they balance melodic hooks with abrasive elements so naturally that their overall production belies a huge array of intricate techniques hiding beneath the surface.

Ultimately, they’re one of the most exciting and innovative artists in contemporary music and the expectations that surround that reputation are momentous, but shouldn’t detract from a performance that ticked virtually every box.

Yves Tumor performed in Melbourne as part of RISING, check out the full festival program here.