Review: Oliver Tree

A surprise short film and diverse audiences at Manchester's O2 Apollo, 8 November

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True love is hard to find, but the audience at Manchester O2 Apollo on 8 November certainly displayed more than just passing admiration for California-born eccentric Oliver Tree as the 30-year-old rolled onto stage on a sofa.

Immediately telling the cheering crowd that the gig was over, he stated that he had decided to show a short film rather than perform his music. What followed was a film within a gig, or a gig within a film, in which the captive audience were all willing participants.

Tree soon began his high energy performance, changing his attire several times during the many “commercial breaks” as he pumped out hit after hit, from viral TikTok tracks to his latest releases, all of which gain millions of views within hours.

It was difficult to discern Tree’s target audience amid the diverse crowd. His music cannot (and will not!) be placed in any single category. It represents an amalgamation of genres from EDM to rap to indie and even country – and the crowd loved every minute.

In the audience were the students, punks, rockers, ravers, and even children sat atop parents’ shoulders front and centre stage, clad in noise cancelling headphones and waving their arms in the air like miniature veteran gig-goers.

A great act is nothing without a great crowd, and Manchester’s music-loving audience pulled out all the stops. A few had made the effort to dress up for the evening, with one attendee seemingly cosplaying as the man himself, clad in Tree’s signature 90s-style shell jacket, standing cooly by the bar and posing for pictures with fellow fans.

After the performance, Tree returned for an encore at the chanting crowd’s request to blast out a couple more tunes. Then, as the credits rolled over his film, still playing in the background, and with every eye in the building on him, the singer, performer, producer and YouTuber returned to the stage one final time on a two-wheeled scooter to perform a couple of high-flying tricks, before “crashing” and being carried off stage dramatically.

Oliver Tree’s Alone in a Crowd is out now.

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