Yves Tumor Show Review

  • Post Author
    by Music director
  • Post Date
    Tue Jul 18 2023

By: Quentin Holle

PHOTO: Gilang Arifin

Yves Tumor is enveloped in mystery. Nearly nothing is known about the frontman of the band beyond weird stories and unreliable information directly from the mouth of the lead singer. Nobody knows what their real name is. Some believe their birth name is Sean or Shan Lee Bowie, while others are convinced that their name is Rahel Ali. When Courtney Love asked them their age in an interview earlier this year for the Interview Magazine, Yves responded with the cryptic “24?”. Another rumor surfaced around the internet over the last year that claimed that they were 52 years old, while others claim that Yves is 33. In 2016, Yves had a legendary performance at a runway show for the fashion brand HBA when they climbed on top of a smoking pile of sand and fought runway models while screaming and groaning over industrial music. In an interview with AnOther Magazineearlier this year, Yves said that the album that got them into music was Weird Al Yankovic's Bad Hair Day. Little is known about the frontman's personal life beyond the fact that they enjoy designing furniture and upholstery.

Following the release of their newest LP with perhaps the longest name ever: Praise A Lord Who Chews But Which Does Not Consume; (Or Simply, Hot Between Worlds), Yves Tumor embarked on a worldwide tour. The esoteric and cryptic nature of Yves Tumor created a larger-than-life atmosphere as the band descended upon Madison. 

PHOTO: Gilang Arifin

I entered The Sylvee just as the first opener, Nation, arrived on stage. Something immediately felt off. The Sylvee was the least crowded I had ever seen, with barely anyone in attendance. The vibes were horrendous as Nation delivered the most awkward performance I had ever seen at a concert. The second opener, Pretty Sick, was far better than the first, but the venue was still quite dead throughout their performance. As Yves Tumor began their set, things marginally improved once again, but something about the whole performance just felt off. I spoke to some other concert attendees in the days following the concert and we all seem to have the same consensus opinion: musically and artistically, Yves Tumor delivered a spectacular performance, but the energy of the crowd and venue made it difficult to be fully mesmerized by the group's act. 

The live band was the quirkiest group of people I had ever seen. On guitar was Chris Greatti, who looked as if he was pulled through time and space from an 80's hair metal band, with an incredibly flamboyant outfit, voluminous hair and a Flying V guitar. Yves Rothman (not the namesake of the band, I was quite confused by this) played the keys and holstered a guitar while wearing a cowboy hat and additional western getup. Rhys Hastings was on drums, but was obscured by his rig for the entire set, giving the percussion a very machinal feeling that persisted throughout the night. On bass and backing vocals was Gina Ramirez, who was the most normally-dressed of the group but was the standout member of the band, delivering stunning vocals on a few tracks throughout the night like “Kerosene”. The frontman of the group can not be forgotten, who first wore a leather jacket before revealing a shirt underneath that simply read “cunt.” Throughout the night Yves Tumor (the frontman) would whisper nonsense into the microphone between songs and play nonsensical instruments. My favorite was a podium that had multiple microphones and foot pedals attached to it that produced varying vocal effects.

PHOTO: Gilang Arifin

Admittedly, I am not the greatest fan of the group's most recent LP Hot Between Worlds (typing out the full name is too much work!) but their previous work is spectacular. On Hot Between Worlds, the band departed from their powerful and heavy rock sound heard on their previous releases and moved towards a more mellow and psychedelic sound. Unfortunately my stance on the album was unchanged after witnessing the group's live performance, with the best tracks of the night coming from their 2020 album Heaven To A Tortured Mind. The booming horns and forceful percussion of “Gospel For A New Century” were incredible to hear in person, and the finale of the night, “Kerosene” served as a perfect ending to the concert, with spectacular guest vocals by bassist Gina Ramirez and an incredible guitar solo by Chris Greatti.

In a completely selfish way, I was quite disappointed that my two favorite Yves Tumor tracks “Romanticist” and “Noid” were excluded from that night's festivities, but I still had an amazing night nonetheless. Yves Tumor is an incredible act, and I am so happy to have had the privilege of seeing the group perform live.