There’s no better feeling that when you walk away from a show knowing that you’ve just witnessed something uniquely special. And that was the feeling I had when I walked down the street from The Tivoli after seeing Ruel kick off his Painkiller Tour in Brisbane. He may only be in the early days of his career but the Sydney based singer-songwriter is truly a superstar on the rise. He commanded the sold out crowds attention effortlessly for 70 minutes and curated massive singalong’s full of passion and maturity beyond his years. Hundreds of his passionate fans braved the Sunday sun as they lined up on the streets of the Fortitude Valley from the early hours of the morning to just guarantee they would be up close and personal with him once he hit the stage. With the ecstatic all-ages crowd packing into the venue, the swaying of the pitt began as the anticipation grew for his arrival. With Ruel and his bands silhouettes casting a shadow on the curtain, it dropped to reveal the seventeen year old singer in a gas mask and hazchem gear to match the aesthetic of this tour before ripping it off. I haven’t heard deafening screams quite like that since the early days of One Direction and Justin Bieber, and my ears were definitely not prepared for that.
Walking straight up to the microphone stand for opener ‘Don’t Tell Me’, the groovy ‘Golden Years’ and the mature ‘Not Thinking Bout You’, it was made clearly obvious that the crowd passionately knew every lyric as they sang along proudly. With only one EP out in the world, it was expected that he would perform some unreleased material as well as some covers but instead of feeling really disjointed, he made the songs flow really well. ‘Real Thing’ continued the chilled out soul meets indie pop vibes whilst ‘Flames’ is a future mainstream hit waiting to be unleashed with it’s slick production. For the intimate ‘Unsaid’ he admitted “I wrote this next song a little while ago about my ex Girlfriend breaking up with me but recently I lost one of my close friends to mental health so I’ve reworked the song to explain how I feel about everything”. The touching and simple moment was beautiful and once again showed a maturity way beyond his years which left me so impressed. He wasn’t trying hard to be that typical young popstar with gimmicky tracks. Instead he was just trying to be as authentic and honest, and it succeeded. Performing his M-Phazes Triple J Like A Version collaboration ‘Weathered’ by Jack Garratt on the acoustic guitar he flowed into a DIY cover of The Weeknd’s’ ‘Call Out My Name’ so seamlessly. As he crept towards the end of the set, the hits started to roll out with ‘Dazed & Confused’ and ‘Younger’ seeing every phone in the theatre held proudly in the air. After saying good night to the crowd, they wanted and needed more. With the band returning to the stage wearing hazchem gear they gave one epic performance of his new single ‘Painkiller’ which had a very soulful touch to it’s delivery. Despite the fact the song has only been out for a couple of days, I’m not even surprised that the sold out crowd already knew every word to it.
The reason this show felt so unique and special is because Ruel is in his own lane right now. His maturity is next level. His showmanship is strong. His songwriting is honest. And his vocals (and graceful falsetto) are soothing to say the least. He’s an artist that doesn’t need guidance with finding out who he is because he already understands the vision. He understands who he is and who he wants to be which is very rare for someone his age. But it’s refreshing and exciting because if he’s already selling out Australia’s biggest theatres from one EP only then the only way is up from here.
Check out the full gallery captured by Zac Monty Media HERE;
Photos by Zac Montgomery
Painkiller Australian Tour
Wednesday 8 May – The Forum, Melbourne
Thursday 9 May – Uni Bar, Hobart *SOLD OUT*
Friday 10 May – The Forum *SOLD OUT*
Saturday 11 May – Vanfest, Forbes
Thursday 16 May – Sydney Opera House, Sydney *SOLD OUT*
Saturday 18 May – Bass in The Grass, Darwin
Sunday 29 May – Sydney Opera House, Sydney *SOLD OUT*
Friday 31 May – HQ Complex, Adelaide
Sunday 1 June – Astor Theatre, Perth *SOLD OUT*