If it’s impressive to tour the world with your first solo album, what does it say when you do it twice? That’s the question confronting patrons when seeing Tourist, the affable producer from London, as he hits the Corner Hotel on his second national stint in as many years.
Before the headliner got to work, The Range kicked festivities off as the opener. His set began with a gentle pulse that moved like a heartbeat and only blossomed from there.
Much like his album Potential, The Range’s live set feels like a breathing entity. The set steadily accelerates, starting with a soft hum that snowballs into a piercing yet entrancing wall of sound. As a performer, The Range has an incredible gift for constructing a set that builds into something larger. The tracks melt onto one another, overlapping in a way that feels completely organic whilst adding dimensions to his already rich sound.
The set was largely a showcase of Potential, with the breakouts like Copper Wire and Florida serving as the highlights. 2013 cut Jamie was squeezed in alongside Regular, which received an ovation from the audience.
The Range has a nervous charisma that made him an intriguing stage presence – his enthusiasm is contagious as he punches the air between beats and mimes along with his drums. There’s also a certain sense of quiet gratitude as he softly addresses the crowd in his sparing gaps. He doesn’t have much to add, but he thanks the crowd a few times with warm sincerity.
After an efficient changeover and a chance to reload at the bar, the headliner hit the stage. Wasting no time, Tourist launched into his remix of CHVRCHES’ Lies which sparkled underneath the lighting rigged up.
Tourist is not billed as an audio/visual show, but it is hard to imagine his set without the lights. Hung across the stage are vertical tubes that flicker and glow whilst bright blinkers dispersed between would reveal themselves as the set reached its more chaotic points. Thin strips of lights also dotted the gaps, creating a wholly immersive set-up that made full use of the usually sparse Corner Hotel stage.
Utilising the CHVRCHES remix as a springboard, Tourist eased into the instrumental cuts from U. Bouncing with energy, Tourist kept composed but had an infectiously positive energy to him.
Watching him play to a full room, what stands out about Tourist is his brevity. He speaks rarely, only interjecting to thank the crowd and acknowledge it was a “really big fucking deal” for him to be headlining again after visiting in 2016. He sips from a beer when needed, but otherwise rarely breaks from the engaging spectacle he was steering.
Everything in Tourist’s live show –the music, the lights, the construction of the set – latches into place like it is a tiny cog in a vast well-oiled machine. Seeing the set in person enlivens all the subtle curations in Tourist’s music in an entirely different way, riding the perfect balance between high-paced dance frenzies and poignant melodic comedowns.
Even the lighting hit the right balance, glowing warmly on the builds and devolving into an intoxicating crash when the drop demanded so.
As the show wore into its final stanzas, the well-oiled machine gave way for the crowd-pleasers. 2014 single I Can’t Keep Up drew a sizeable reaction as it bled into the breakout hit Holding On. As the anticipation built, there was an unspoken consensus in the room that we’d all come to see Run, the crown jewel of U.
Unleashed during the encore, the Corner Hotel elevated to a new gear. Over the strains of the hook and the seductive snares, all the expended energy was suddenly replenished and for one last song, the crowd found themselves lost in what was unfolding around them.
From the corner of the room, a security guard pulled out his phone and Snapchatted the euphoria of the final song. It was that kind of night, and that kind of show. The team of The Range and Tourist were a wonderful pairing, complementing each other brilliantly and leading to a cohesive three hours of sound, light and colour that immersed as much as it impressed.
Photos by Bianca Bosso in Sydney.