LIVE REVIEW: Cub Sport – The Tivoli

The evolution and transformation of Cub Sport is truly impressive. Expressing themselves in the rawest way possible through their sophomore record ‘Bats’ they ended up establishing a deep bond with their listeners that has changed the direction of their career completely. Opening up about lead singer Tim Nelson’s sexuality and coming out experience, they tapped into a honest songwriting that really spoke to people on a whole other spiritual level. Their self-titled third studio album explored this process even deeper and heard them reaching towards a even bigger sound that promised their live show to become bigger than ever before. And they’ve well and truly delivered that. Returning home to Brisbane to kick off their biggest Australian headlining tour to date with two sold out shows at The Tivoli, the 18+ crowd packed into the beautiful venue eager and anticipating the launch of this new production. 

Ambient production duo Two People immediately ran into some technical difficulties that plagued their set. As they tried to power through and still deliver the same vibe as they set out to create, the were obviously thrown by these technical issues. Lead vocalist Phoebe Lou performed a stripped back acoustic version of one of their songs whilst they tried to fix what was going on but sadly the issues kept arising. 

Walking out onto the stage to the opening notes of ‘Heartburn’, WAFIA was also having her own homecoming experience tonight as the proud Brisbane singer-songwriter confessed how no one used to ever take her seriously in this city when she was asking for advice. But one of the first people to actually reply to her and give her advice was Tim from Cub Sport. Feeling like a ultra-cute full circle moment, the biggest smile beamed from her face from start to finish of her set. Dancing through ‘Only Love’ and ‘Love Somebody’ she slowed things down with a cover of Frank Ocean’s ‘Lost’. Teasing that she has some massive news coming over the next few weeks, she asked the crowd if it was okay to play an unreleased Louis The Child collaboration. And I mean, after the major success of ‘Better Not’ the crowd undisputedly said yes. ‘Cold’ is another fresh banger that has an emotional layer of lyrics that will connect with you vulnerably and have you wanting to dance at the same time. The singalong favourites ’83 Days’ and ‘Bodies’ followed before she gushingly asked the crowd to celebrate the recent Gold status in the US of ‘Better Not’ with a even bigger singalong. Closing off her set with the funky ‘I’m Good’, she really did successfully  showcase her strong vocals, quirky stage presence and anthemic storytelling. 

With a massive black curtain draped across the stage, it was obvious that this Cub Sport show was going to be pretty extravagant and the crowd was ready to be transported into this whole new world. With the lights dimming and an ambient instrumental blasting through the venue, Lead singer Tim Nelson walked out onto the stage and stood in front of the curtain for an acapella performance of ‘Unwinding Myself’. The dramatic opening really set the intense mood for the night that floated between reflective euphoria and heartbreak. Standing there wearing an oversized white jacket whilst being shirtless with only wearing a harness, it was a fashion choice the crowd was already living for. Disappearing from the stage momentarily, the opening synths of ‘Video’ saw the curtain dropping to reveal a massive stage structure which Tim was now standing on top of. With a huge lighting rig that surrounded a LCD screen, platforms and risers, this stage set up was extravagant and incredible in every way possible. The whole band had massive smiles on their faces as the crowd lost their mind and sang extremely loud to early favourites ‘Chasin’ and ‘Hawaiian Party’. “It’s been a dream of ours to play a sold out show at The Tivoli for so long and tonight you guys made our dream come true. So thank you so much!” Nelson ecstatically confessed. 

Even though this tour was in celebration of their self-titled record, they still made sure they treated long-term fans with songs like ‘Look After Me’, ‘Only Friend’ and ‘Good Guys Go’. But from there they focused on transporting them into the world of the new record. ‘Butterflies’ and ‘Trees’ introduced the experimental new sound that had Nelson using two different microphones to switch up his vocal techniques which was super interesting to watch live. ‘Come Out’ and ‘Party Pill’ had people dancing before the crowd unanimously cheered for 40 seconds as the band just looked on in a grateful disbelief. ‘Lift Me Up’ shared some exclusive candid footage from Tim and Bolan’s wedding and personal lives which seemed so intimate and special for them to share in this theatrical setting. Stripping it back for the moody atmospheric tracks ‘As Long As You’re Happy’, ‘Summer Love’, ‘Stars’, ‘Light II’, ‘I’m Not Scared’ and ‘Acid Rain’, they returned to their roots and had everyone swaying and enjoying these more intimate moments. But it wasn’t for long as ‘Limousine’ and ‘Sometimes’ brought the dancing vibes as CO’2 cannons erupted. The production was just on a whole new level throughout the whole show and saw them not only being theatrical but also creating something that seemed genuine and like a natural artistic progression. Thanking the crowd one last time for coming out to see them they closed the show with their mega hit ‘Come On Mess Me Up’ as firework cannons lit up the top of the stage. For anyone that has seen this band play venues like The Brightside, The Triffid or street festivals over the years it was a super proud moment seeing them transform into pop stars on The Tivoli stage. And that’s what they successfully did with this new production. They become pop stars and delivered an engaging, dramatic and theatrical show which perfectly lived in the mood and emotions of their albums. 

Check out the full gallery captured by Ekul Creative Photography HERE;

Photos by Luke Cummins

Cub Sport 2019 Australian Tour

Fri 12 April – Enmore Theatre, Sydney (All Ages) *SOLD OUT*

Sat 13 April – Festival Hall, Melbourne (All Ages)

Thu 18 April – Metropolis, Fremantle (18+)

Sat 20 April – The Gov, Adelaide (All Ages)

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