It’s not often you come across an artist whose music sounds better live. Yeo’s live show, with his effortless, genuine interaction with the crowd and his guest performers and the arresting visual effects utilised to complement his music, is something that fans should not miss.
The crowd waited in the cosy band room at Howler in near complete darkness, watching an animation as they waited for Yeo to take the stage. The intimate crowd were immediately engaged with Yeo the minute he joined the audience. It’s hard to decipher whether it was his presence alone that caused the instant connection between audience and artist or past experience of long terms fans of Yeo who have attended his live shows and know what his live shows are all about.
On stage was Yeo with his keyboard and laptop and a drummer, who he introduced to everyone as Andy. However, Andy wouldn’t be the only one joining the listeners at Howler – Yeo had a plethora of special guest appearances lined up for the show.
The moment Andy hit the drums and Yeo kick started the beat, the music reverberated through the entire body of the crowd from the ground all the way up to the chest, with heart pounding percussion and sharp, head-nodding beats. Yeo recovered swiftly from a little glitch with the microphone in one of the early songs in the set, lifting himself out of potential disaster zone with his calm demeanour.
Yeo’s first special guest was a blonde alternative goddess wearing a vintage fluoro yellow Reebok jacket that she somehow pulled off. They sang ‘Never Wanted That’ in good old-fashioned duet style and she also later featured in ‘Three Dots’. The boppy beat to the song was offset by the singer’s mellow, deep voice whilst Yeo showcased his lyrical diversity by rapping parts of the song. The tune had a Drake-like feel to it, overlayed by Yeo’s signature electronic funk influence.
Among one of his many surprise guests singers and other instruments was a saxophone player, with the saxophone, once again crowd got very excited as we buckled ourselves in for an electronic-jazz fusion tune. Amid the assembled chaos, Yeo exposed a more raw, gritty side to his voice before the song moved into 70s dance vibe, the crowd moving to the music.
A highlight of the set was guest performer Fractures who co-produced ‘Chasing Shadows’. Yeo and Fractures executed the song immaculately, sounding as though you were in your car listening to it on the radio, but even better.
A welcome and refreshing change to the regular Melbourne gig scene, Yeo refused to do “that cheesy encore shit” (in his words) for the last song, ‘Got No Game’. A radiographic video of a man dancing played in the background, somehow matching the beat of the song.
It wasn’t just his music getting the audience involved in the event. Yeo’s presence and awareness of his audience was second to no other performer in the Australian music scene. Whilst remaining super cool and collected, Yeo laughed with both Andy and the crowd, with unforced, natural interaction at every opportunity. He jumped and danced around the stage, reaching out to the audience, making eye contact and genuinely connecting with the audience.
Yeo’s musical versatility, skilful production abilities and capacity to make numerous genres his own is an extraordinary talent that will certainly be one to keep an eye on over the forthcoming years.
Yeo was incredibly sincere in his farewell to the crowd in his true humble fashion, thanking both his guests and audience. He added; ‘My heart is so full right now this is awesome… This is why we do this’.
Reviewed by Mia Turnley
Where: Howler, Melbourne
When: Saturday October 14 2017
Supports: Lonelyspeck + Eilish Gilligan + Alex Yabsley DJ