Yves Tumor Rumbles at First Avenue

Photo by Ben Allen

Last updated on May 24th, 2023 at 07:12 pm

Yves Tumor made their Twin Cities debut last night at First Avenue, much to the delight of the nearly sold-out crowd.

On my way down to the show last night, I saw several high school kids decked out in prom gear, running in hordes through the rain. Given their numbers, it felt like they were running away from First Ave. When I walked inside the venue, it was like a goth fair had driven the bougie kids in gowns and suits out of town.

Amongst the crowd, I saw a lot of leather pants, an abundance of black clothing, and more mullets in one place since the last North Stars game I attended.

Yves Tumor is talked about like a band when they’re touring, but it’s really centered around Sean Lee Bowie, the formidable frontman and songwriter. When I checked in with the venue, the staff warned that “the lead guy likes to use people up front as props, so just a heads up, he might use you as a prop.” I already stick out being very tall, so I thought he would pick me, given that I would be one of the few people between him and the rest of the crowd behind the barricades.

Spoiler alert: I was not selected as a prop, nor were any other photographers in attendance. I didn’t see it happen to anybody else, although Bowie did drop into the crowd up front several times throughout the night.

I have to admit that I don’t know much about the band, and I don’t know a lot of their music, so I can’t compare how their music sounds live versus recorded. However, they have a fabulous stage presence, and they kept the crowd engaged throughout.

The only shenanigans I witnessed were towards the end of the set when Bowie removed a scarf and tied it around guitarist Chris Greatti’s eyes during his ‘Kerosene’ solo. Greatti has some serious Randy Rhoads vibes, from his hair to his guitar. I think most professional guitar players could handle being temporarily blinded, but then he had to maintain his solo while being pulled back by his blindfold.

On the tail end of that epic solo, Greatti kept playing a melodic refrain and then swapped in a melody from ‘Purple Rain’ before dipping back into his own work. My heart skipped and I thought we might be treated to a full cover, but then the solo and song ended. Then they finished their set, and I was left with the musical equivalent of sexual frustration.

All in all, they played a great show with a ton of energy. I’d definitely see them again.

Written by Ben Allen

I tell the story of the energy transfer between people who play music and that music's listeners. I photograph and write about festivals and concerts, which I've attended for three decades. I'm also the tall guy you probably got stuck behind at a show. First concert: Nirvana at Roy Wilkins Auditorium, Dec 1993. Yes, I am old. Tall and old.


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