The night before Ruel’s massive sold out show at The Fortitude Music Hall I was heading into the same venue to review Birds Of Tokyo’s gig when I was taken aback by a second line of people forming next to the venue of teenage girls camping overnight to get the prime position for his show.
It’s a fangirl tradition that stands the test of time. From the Beatles through to Justin Bieber and One Direction, everyone had a teenage fangirl stage with different levels of intensity. For me, my first experience with the pandemonium was with Short Stack in 2009 when I camped out at the front of The Tivoli in the early AM. My parents weren’t super happy about it as I was fifteen at the time, but with hundreds of people doing the exact same they saw it as something I needed to experience. And for many teenagers in the line for Ruel’s show in the early AM, it was probably the same understanding that led their parents to allow them to have the day of school to line up.
With the screams becoming deafening, a countdown appeared on the screen as his band took to the stage in astronaut jumpsuits. With CO’2 cannons erupting, Ruel ran out onto the top of the platform on the stage for opener ‘Dazed And Confused’. With a beaming smile as he was looking out at the thousands of fans who were screaming his name, he thanked them for coming to the first night of his biggest Australian tour yet.
Without wasting any time, he dived straight into ‘Not Thinkin’ Bout You’ before premiering some tracks from his new EP ‘Free Time’. With ‘Real Thing’ becoming an immediate live standout, he lifted the production and delivered it in a bolder way than the studio version originally offered. The vulnerable ‘Unsaid’ is still as emotional and real as his fans remember it from his last Australian tour and is a poignant moment of reflection. Where as the single ‘Face To Face’ and title track ‘Free Time’ are still a little forgettable even in the live element.
His SG Lewis collaboration ‘Flames’ was a moment of pure enjoyment as he grabbed a smoke gun and sprayed it over the audience while they jumped up and down ecstatically. Tacking it back to the very beginning with his debut single, ‘Don’t Tell Me’ he reminded the audience where he came from before he got them jumping again with his M-Phazes collaboration ‘Golden Years’.
Closing out his set with recent hit ‘Painkiller’, it’s obvious that the singalong was going to be huge and memorable. Running off stage without saying goodnight, the crowd were chanting his name for more, and obviously he had more planned.
Returning to the stage for recent EP favourite ‘Hard Sometimes’ that reflects on the struggles of being so young in the industry, he had a nice intimate and vulnerable moment with the crowd before properly saying goodnight with the mammoth track ‘Younger’.
During the show there were a lot of marriage proposals and confessions of true love proclaimed which were youthful and reminiscent of the time in your life that you had a teenage musical crush. But Ruel is much more than that. He is a severely talented artist with a mature creative vision that is wise beyond his years. Speaking about real hurt and real pain, he gives these adolescents a way to express their emotions in a different way.
And in doing so he’s also connected with a wider audience that expands from his teenage demographic following his inclusion on triple j with his heartbreak reflections.
Check out the full gallery captured by Kirsten Roe Photography BELOW:
Photos by Kirsten Roe
Ruel Australian Tour
Sunday 22 September – Thebarton Theatre, Adelaide *SOLD OUT*
Tuesday 24 September – Festival Hall, Melbourne *SOLD OUT*
Tuesday 1 October – Odeon, Hobart *SOLD OUT*
Thursday 3 October – Hordern Pavilion, Sydney