Walking into the venue I could already feel the spunky energy that was coming off of the eclectic crowd of people gathered there ready to let their hair down and to see the artist who brands himself on being obscure, Oliver Tree.
On tour with him was opening artist love-sadKiD, who brought a warmth to the crowd with his happy-go-lucky attitude and shy giggles in between his songs. Almost immediately after his set, I could hear the crowd conversing around me asking one another about who this new age hip-hop rapper was – and how they could know more. Joining in on the conversations taking place, it was quickly established that with his clever rhymes and smooth vocals, this tour just may be generating all of the recognition that love-sadKiD deserves.
After chatting for a bit with the fans around me, I begin to get a sense of just what kind of show I had walked into. Almost every single person I talked to about Oliver Tree had something to say of his choice of fashion and his lucrative professional scooter career. And sure enough, when the music had begun and played just long enough to get the crowd screaming with excitement, along comes the man himself, cruising in on his infamous scooter, ready to give the people all of the weirdness and entertainment they had come for.
Only a couple songs into his set, Oliver proclaimed his dedication of his #1 hit, Alien Boy, to “all of the alien boys and girls” with its fresh punk/indie pop influence that immediately got the crowd singing and grooving right along with him. As the show and dancing progressed, Oliver’s layers of clothes diminished as he incorporated numerous different articles of clothing and props into his set that added that little extra visual aid that really helped send his stage performance over the top. Along with his own unique haircut and sun glasses at night, Oliver’s (two) band members had on intentionally poorly placed bowl-cut wigs over their own hair to match Oliver and enhance the level of obscurity being presented during the show.
The way that Oliver interacted with the crowd brought on a feeling of relatability and inclusiveness in his music that reminded me of how just weird and unique each person is and how fun it really can be if we let loose and enjoy it. Oliver decided to debut a couple of his songs that had bit more of a heaver hip-hop influence and truly brought the crowd to their fullest potential of hype. Opening up a mosh pit that sucked up everyone who got near it, the crowd almost immediately responded to Oliver’s call for rowdiness. From the very beginning all the way to the very end, the crowd feed off of Oliver’s high energy music and dance moves, singing along to every single song and responding to every single gesture each step of the way. Ending the show by announcing his appreciation for his fans who are truly “a church of freaks and geeks”, Oliver Tree sure enough lived up to his colorful reputation, making the night one that will definitely always stand.
Written by Gabrielle Lasater
Photography by Jacky Dang