Oliver Tree, Manchester 07/11/22

Following his ‘retirement’, and then return to music in the form of an unexpected country album, scooter/cowboy hero and living meme Oliver Tree recently returned to the UK for ‘One Last Ride’ with a small run of three shows. Expectedly, the Santa Cruz artist brought his signature chaos to Manchester this week, doused in several layers of irony and sarcasm.

Support for this sold-out show was only announced the day prior to the gig in the form of Royal & The Serpent, in their first ever UK tour. Royal & The Serpent quickly won over the audience with an energetic blend of pop-punk and electro-pop, culminating with the artist’s 2020 hit Overwhelmed.

Next up was Oliver Tree, who rolled onto the stage atop a Razor scooter, complete with a wig and groucho glasses. Behind him, his two band members, who just happened to be dressed exactly like Tree with signature 90s shell jackets and ridiculously large flares.

Tree immediately kicked into his shtick, putting on a very questionable English accent for the entire show, and claiming that contrary to popular belief, he was actually born in Manchester, thanking the crowd for coming out to his ‘hometown’ show. After just two songs, Oliver ran triumphantly off the stage as if he’d just headlined Glastonbury, ‘closing’ his set, before running back on to the delight of his adoring fans cheering for an encore. The biggest crowd pleaser of the night was TikTok mega hit Miss You, which he played three times, each rendition faster than the previous in reference to the current internet trend of nightcore song remixes. This was followed directly by last years TikTok hit Life Goes On from the deluxe release of his debut album Ugly Is Beautiful. Oliver then left the stage again, this time for a costume change, returning to the sounds of the wild west, and donning his more recent cowboy outfit. The Cowboy Tears single ‘Cowboys Don’t Cry’ was another treat for fans, who echoed the country anthem’s lyrics back to the artist.

The final few songs of Oliver Tree’s set were composed of a mix of his previous hits, most of which were preceded by a ridiculous anecdote, such as how a rogue pebble lying on a 20ft mega ramp crushed his dreams of becoming a pro scooter rider (Hurt), and how he scarcely avoided a plane crash, after his plane fell out of the sky (Miracle Man).  Several encores later, Tree picked up a guitar to close his set with fan-favourite I’m Gone. Overall, the Californian delivered an incredibly meta set complete with costume changes, hilarious accents, and scenarios that wouldn’t be out of place in a Spinal Tap film. Most importantly however, Oliver’s ability as a musician shone through his quirky character, showcasing catchy choruses and memorable hooks truly deserving of his chart topping success.

Word and Photos by Jacob Swetmore 

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Philip Goddard

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