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02 Oct Yeo ‘Got No Game’ Tour, Live At The Corner (22/9/16)


Words by Lily He // Photos by Sarah Chavdaroska


Yeo played his first headlining set at the Corner Hotel in September for the Melbourne leg of his east-coast ‘Got No Game’ tour. The home crowd lovingly welcomed him with open arms, as well as his support acts Take Your Time and Saatsuma, and Sarah Chavdaroska and I were lucky enough to be there to witness it.

With the Corner still steadily filling with people, Saatsuma took to the stage under dreamy, red spotlights. Their set began to lift when they announced they were playing a cover of Little Dragon’s ‘Twice’, a slow, romantic rendition of the original and a good intro to the band for Yeo fans who hadn’t heard Saatsuma play before. Everyone was captivated when they performed their popular first single ‘Storm’, and when the beats grew louder and faster lead singer Memphis Kelly brought out her tambourine and broke into a little dance in the centre of the stage.

 

Saatsuma are a collaborative electronic project between Memphis, Cesar Rodrigues and Joel Ma. The trio have merged their unique musical styles and backgrounds together to create sweet electronic beats. For their live shows Saatsuma share the stage with Memphis’ sister Maddy Kelly, Lachlan Stuckey and Andrew Congues (who also plays drums for Yeo), elevating their music from a studio-based creation to a 5-piece live band.

Their newly released single ‘Floating’ captivated the audience with Memphis’ dark, velvety vocals. As with all electronic music, I was interested to see how a studio project would translate onstage with the multiple layers of sounds and beats. This group delivered, and played like a well oiled machined with a fantastic stage presence.

With recent appearances at Big Sound in Brisbane, a sold out show at Shebeen and the single launch for ‘Floating’ at the Toff in Town, this talented group of musicians has certainly gained momentum fast and left with many fans at the end of the night.

 

Yeo opened his set with ‘Kobe’ – an oldie but a goodie – a perfect start to his night. The stage was simply lit with a few spotlights, which was a bit unusual considering the visual-heavy performances we have come to expect from his live shows. That was until the intro for ‘Girl,’ came on. The venue was suddenly enveloped in darkness – except for the constellation of colourful lines flickering on and off in unison to the beat of drummer Andrew Congues’ glow in the dark drumsticks hitting those claps against the throbbing bass that lit up the stage. The song is light on the lyrics but focuses heavily on the hypnotic beats, although annoyingly the chatter of the crowd broke the spell. The songs following ‘Girl,’ were all accompanied by alternating projections from black and white glitches to colourful, eclectic 90’s dance moves and visually complemented the slightly different vibes of each song incredibly well.

The Melbourne-based songwriter/producer/singer experiments with countless genres and breaks the mould of expectations around artists needing to commit to a single genre. Some of his earlier songs like ‘Kobe’ and ‘Girl,’ (released in 2013) compared to his newer tracks from his LP Ganbaru (released earlier this year) really showcased his musical progression, while holding onto the dreamy beats that make his sound so enthralling.

Yeo really turned up the heat for ‘Got No Game’ which was accompanied with his new video, directed by himself in collaboration with Trevor Santos, Alix Petah and Ben Dennis. The modern dance music video was somewhat distracting at first but got really addictive to watch and complimented the lyrics of the song, which got the crowd dancing. Yeo was then joined onstage by Saatsuma vocalist Memphis Kelly and saxophonist Ollie Whitehead together to perform ‘Secret Powers’. The live saxophone added an extra dimension to the sound and it honestly sounded better than the recorded track. The next song was a special treat for his hometown and the girls in the front row swooned when Yeo kneeled down in front of them and sang a rare live version of ‘Jetcooler’. The guitar solo and freestyle saxophone in this song felt more like an intimate jam-sesh with Yeo and Ollie, the crowd appreciating being privy to something special by dancing harder than ever.

 

Their set peaked at the end when Yeo dropped ‘Quiet Achiever’, the spotlights blowing up onto the crowd simultaneously with the bass drop. I turned around to see a sea of smiles. As the end of the song began to fade out, Yeo thanked Melbourne and left the stage with Andrew but came back almost immediately for an encore as the chants for “one more song” filled the room, and ended the show with ‘Always Open‘. What an absolute treat for the Melbourne crew.

Yeo definitely lit up the Corner Hotel, literally and metaphorically as he moved effortlessly from the microphone, keyboard, guitar and performed ripper keytar solos while dancing energetically around the stage throughout the whole night. Yeo is probably one of the most talented and energetic performers I have ever had the pleasure of seeing. Can’t wait to see what else he has tucked up his sleeve for the future.

But with the title of this tour, the temptation to point out the obvious is too strong. Yeo has certainly got game!

 


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