The air was buzzing outside of Neumos on a chilly Thursday night a youthful crowd decked out in their best festival-friendly garments — flower crowns and flannel tied around the waist — eagerly awaited their idol Troye Sivan, an actor turned YouTube vlogger turned indie-pop sensation. The singer kicks off his first concert tour in support of his second major label EP Wild and his anticipated debut full-length Blue Neighbourhood. At the ripe age of 20, the guy is already in command of 2.8 Instagram followers, 3 million Twitter followers, 3.5 million YouTube subscribers where he’ll never receive less than a million views on each video he posts, some are collaborations with other bright-eyed stars of the social media platform, others are personal videos of himself in a room talking to a camera. Between that, and the fact that the audience kept wildly wondering if any social media power players would make an appearance (“Do you think Connor Franta is backstage?!”), it was clear that this show wasn’t only a music set by a rising star, but a showcase of power by #TeamInternet.
After a set by local spinster DJ100PROOF featuring gems like Destiny’s Child’s “Independent Women” (which may have been lost on the young crowd in favor of Silento’s “Watch Me”) and several false alarms (“HE’S HERE!“), Troye finally took the stage precisely at 9:00pm. The crowd didn’t hold back and the deafening screams peaked. Immediately kicking off with EP standout, “Bite,” the singer seemed totally in his comfort zone. Later he’d comment that “you guys have no idea how nervous I was, but literally all of my nerves went away when I walked out.” He’s right: we really didn’t know how nervous he was.
After another fan favorite, “Fools,” the Perth singer would witness the first time anybody has ever heard Caribbean percussion-tinged “Cool,” a song off of Blue Neighbourhoods that features the line “I was just tryna be cool, I was just tryna be like you,” despite the fact that everybody in the room believed he was the coolest guy on earth. It wasn’t too much of a stretch though, Troye had his stage presence on lock, moving like a combination of Lorde with the swagger of a hip-hop star to the rhythm. The onstage banter came naturally and unpretentiously, as if he was chatting with some old friends, remaining refreshingly genuine and charged despite the gloomier mood his songs may otherwise suggest.
As he performed “Ease” and “DKLA,” respective features by Broods and Tkay Maidza were replaced by not only prerecorded vocals, but an enthusiastic audience willing to take their place. The camaraderie of the fans was bursting at the seams, when the lead single off of Blue Neighbourhoods, “Talk Me Down,” was performed, the amount of fans singing along was still noticeable despite the song only have been premiered for a day on British radio. Other newly premiered tracks like “Suburbia” had the audience scrambling to learn the lyrics so they could join in on the final chorus.
The only real qualm people appeared to have with the show was the lack of material performed from Troye’s first major label EP TRXYE (“Sing ‘Fun!’” went an unheard cry from a teen male in the audience), although no one could complain about three completely new songs and a stripped down version of his breakthrough single “Happy Little Pill” in the encore. All the songs translated incredibly well onstage, dancefloor-ready drops fell hard and songs like the triumphant finale “Wild” and encore closer “Youth” (the final new track) felt like stadium-ready anthems..
Fans went home satisfied, some in tears, others hurrying for final selfies before the star disappeared backstage. One thing was clear: despite the fact that this boy would likely go unnoticed walking down the streets of Capitol Hill, Troye Sivan was not to be underestimated.