Troye Sivan is somewhat of a dark horse. For those who don’t know much about him, it would be easy to assume that he found his beginnings on YouTube, creating videos within the confines of his room. In reality, this South-African born creative is a lot more than meets the eye, with a role in an X-Men movie, YouTube fame and a grand final stint on Star Search Australia under his belt before the age of 21. All of this led to a sensational debut album, which see’s Sivan now jetting off across the world playing to thousands and now it has brought him to Manchester, where he was set to play to another sold out crowd as part of the Blue Neighbourhood world tour.
Sivan looks as if he’s stepped right out of the 90’s as he takes to the stage for opener Bite, donned in high-waist pinstripe pants and a bright pink tee. “I’ve been walking around and I’ve seen how well dressed everyone is and I come out looking like a five year old,” he comments a little way into the set, offering a shake of humour to his awaiting audience.
While the set for the night is compiled of a lot of slower tracks from the album ‘Blue Neighbourhood,’ the live translation gives each song a whole new lease of life. The likes of Fools and DKLA seem less like chill out or slow dance songs and are huge projected throughout the Academy, Sivan is clear in his execution and no matter where you stand in the room you hear every word with the upmost ease.
A shake of a hand is owed to great sound and also stage setup, though simple – a display of houses which are initially lit up blue to represent a ‘Blue Neighbourhood’ – each song is synchronised with a new set of colours and it is the cherry on top of an already solid performance. “I wanted to have the light show on tour but I also wanted to be able to strip it back and do whatever I want,” Sivan admits, signalling to the houses behind him with a quick hand gesture, announcing then that he would be performing one of his favourite songs – an Amy Winehouse cover ‘Love Is A Losing Game.’ If not any other track performed, this one is certainly the biggest display of Sivan’s versatility. A lot may try to move from YouTube vlogging to the big leagues of singing professionally but only select numbers have that raw talent needed to make it and Sivan sure has that, in bucket loads.
He is also charming in the way he interacts with fans, always appreciative and humble but also happy to converse with those amongst the crowd who have brought signs with them. “Do I like slugs and do I like bread, two of the weirdest questions I’ve ever been asked,” he laughs, offering thanks to those who asked for coming regardless and springs back into his set shortly following. Happy Little Pill is an acoustic offering and is a stunning rendition, it highlights the crowd as Sivan asks them to sing and sing they do – possibly the loudest any crowd has ever sung the lyrics back their voices filling every corner of the venue beautifully. On stage Sivan is beaming, almost in disbelief of how many people are projecting his words back to him without any help whatsoever.
The set draws to a close with Talk Me Down but sees Sivan return for an encore of Lost Boy and Youth, the latter being his most recent single release. It’s different to the studio version, merging a remix version of the track with the original to amp up every last ounce of energy in the room. It’s a little strange but overall welcomed by all who are watching and though everyone is on a high as it draws to a close, it’s a sad ending knowing there are no more tracks as Sivan announces “that was our last song, really this time,” going about thanking everyone once more in the most humble fashion before heading off stage. Troye Sivan brings a refreshing look at the future of pop music, he is a bright young talent that sings unashamedly about liking the same sex and ‘without losing a piece of me, how do I get to heaven?’. It’s exciting, relatable and holds a promising future for this talented singer.