Review and Photos by Brittne Lunniss
Oh, Yves Tumor. You beautiful, talented human. The last time I caught Tumor was in 2022 at THING Fest in Port Townsend, Washington. The set was engaging and polished, but seeing as it was a festival stage, I didn’t see the band in their natural environment. The stage design was predictably simple (which, if you know Yves Tumor, they are anything but), and they were too far from the crowd to dive in and jump around. Considering this, I was eager to catch the artist on their own terms and design.
If you’ve listened to Yves Tumor or simply seen a photo of them, you know they’re eccentric—a spectacle, even. I had a feeling Tumor’s set would deliver a show for the senses. Lasers, fog, strobes, red lighting, CAGES, and a DRUMMER ON A VERY HIGH PLATFORM. The show kicked off with "God Is a Circle," one of their better-known songs, which has garnered a fair amount of KEXP airplay.
They continued with "Echolalia," which locked the crowd into the trance that is Yves Tumor. I admittedly have a love-hate relationship with Tumor’s intense stage lighting, but I’ll forgive them. They fully made up for it with their electrically fierce performance. I appreciate the showpersonship of Tumor. I’ve seen plenty of artists put on the character of "rockstar," but Tumor truly connected with fans, engaged with them, and looked like they were genuinely having fun.
Openers for Yves Tumor included Evanora Unlimited (a multimedia alternative/experimental project from Oakland, California) and Pretty Sick (a rising indie band from New York City—think Phoebe Bridgers meets Soccer Mommy). This was a thoughtfully constructed bill that complemented Yves Tumor nicely. On one hand, we have so-artsy-I’m-not-sure-I-fully-understand-in-a-good-way, and on the other, we have a solid alternative that has also garnered KEXP airplay.
Yves Tumor (also known as Sean Lee Bowie) recently dropped their latest (2023) record, Praise A Lord Who Chews But Which Does Not Consume; (Or Simply, Hot Between Worlds). This marks Tumor’s fifth studio album. It is a cinematic listen in which Tumor narrates their strangely beautiful world. And yes, his world, because we’re all just living in it. Give it a listen on Spotify or any other streaming platform! And while you’re at it, delve into the work of Evanora Unlimited. The best solo experimental artist I’ve seen in a while.