Music review: Yves Tumor, RISING Festival, The Forum

An enigmatic performer-singer, Yves Tumor wowed the audience with experimental sonic expression.
A silhouette of a figure in black on a stage holding a guitar. Behind them there is an orange haze.

In the ethereal space of The Forum, Yves Tumor conjured an otherworldly experience that used strong lighting and misting effects to enrapture the audience in mythical allegory. At times the singer’s vocal range was slightly strained, perhaps due to a cough, but their presence, a luminary in the backlit smoke, was striking. Their onstage persona was reminiscent of Prince, to whom they paid homage, along with Michael Jackson and Frank Ocean. 

As part of the RISING Festival, Tumor, an enigmatic artist from Florida, enveloped the audience in a sonic tapestry woven with layers of raw emotion and avant-garde experimentation in the mock-classical interior of The Forum.

Tumor took the stage, draped in shadow, their dark blue hair gleaming like the star carpeted ceiling, chest bare under a leather jacket and shimmering with an aura of mystery. The atmosphere crackled with anticipation.

Tumor often seeks to transcend mere music, morphing into a multisensory exploration of identity, expression and the fluidity of artistic boundaries. The expectations were high. The performance lacked a little of the expected intensity for this reviewer, but the mise-en-scène was flawlessly captivating. 

The set unfurled like a dreamscape, shifting seamlessly between haunting melodies and thunderous beats that reverberated through the cavernous space of the venue. The sound production was impressive, blending genres, from lithe ambient sounds to pulsating electronic rhythms that surged through the audience with a visceral pulse – a choreography of sensations.

Read: Performance review: Gurr Era Op, RISING Festival, Arts House

Tumor at RISING Festival was not merely a music concert; it delved (like so much of the program) into performance art and uncategorisable terrain. It was a journey into the unknown, guided by an artist whose creative vision resonated with daringness and originality. It was an immersive blend of ephemeral beauty of sound, light and feeling, on an electric Melbourne winter evening. 

Yves Tumor performed at The Forum on 11 June 2024 as part of RISING Festival.

Leila Lois is a dancer and writer of Kurdish and Celtic heritage. Her poetry, essays and reviews have been published in Australia, New Zealand, USA and Canada by Southerly Journal, LA Review of Books, Honey Literary Journal, Right Now, Delving Into Dance and more.