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Troye Sivan review: Internet star a work in progress, but an impressive start


Enmore Theatre, January 13

Popularity is not in question for a man whose first album is barely a few months old and whose professional career – as distinct from his online, check out what I can do at home, do I really need a major label? career – is not much older. And, lest we forget, this was only his second gig in his adopted country.

There were One Direction-level screams and 5 Seconds Of Summer-level camera phone action from the second Troye Sivan was glimpsed ambling on from side-stage.

There was Royal Blood-level crowd surges not just towards the stage (prompting a relentless and at times frantic effort by security to lift the bodies of collapsing young women from the mosh), but left and right as the mass of indistinct shapes but definite energy moved with each change of direction Sivan made.

And there was Sam Smith-like singing in unison from a room who didn't just know every word but had ingested them and made them not so much holy writ as part of life.


Which is a crucial point: while he may be the pop star being adored by the predominantly teen, roughly equal male/female audience, part of his presentation and a lot of his appeal is that Sivan is "of" this audience, not out of reach of them.

Like Taylor Swift used to be (or used to market herself as being), but Justin Bieber (or for that matter Michael Jackson) never was, the West Australian is talking the way his peers do, expressing the things they feel and existing in a very familiar world.

The connection between performer and fan is so clear, so genuine here that not even the most cynical can put this reaction down to hormones and the thrill of the chance to scream your lungs out with a thousand just like you.

What is still in question, though, is whether Sivan can translate his online and on-record quality – those R&B-pop songs that sit a bit closer to balladry than danceable; a lilting, fresh voice – into a successful stage show. The problem areas at this point are significant but straightforward and easily remedied.

Firstly, Sivan's voice isn't near battle-ready yet, still needing strength and depth, rather than greater use of taped backing. Another year or two of touring will change that.

Secondly, with a two-piece band of drums and a bank of keyboards, the arrangements, in particular, but lighting also, are far too similar and repetitive to sustain a show. Yes, even one as short as this 45-minute, including a two-song encore, performance.

For me, the songs are there for a good start but only a few – Wild, Youth and a semi-acoustic version of Happy Little Pill – stood out clearly in the show. And those were the last three, of 10, which is leaving things a bit late.