Not just a concert, but a frenzied multi-media experience with Oliver Tree at The Met - WXPN | Vinyl At Heart
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Oliver Tree’s “Alone in a Crowd” Tour touched down on The Met Saturday night. The historic theater’s beautiful interior was perfect for what he had planned. FIDLAR, on tour with Tree, opened up the night (along with Jasiah, who played at 7 p.m. as the audience found its seats). In addition to the intricate, oddball show Philly fans expected from Tree,the artists opening for him felt well-curated.

FIDLAR had their own role in the greater connective tissue of the Oliver Tree show: their goofiness, quips, guitarist Brandon Schwartzel’s cartoonish Mr. Bill-like “thank you!,” and electrical tape embellishment that read “Don’t Fear The Weird” fit right in. In the eclectic friend group, they’d be the stoners or skaters who bonded over music-making tunnel vision. The Met crowd embraced them, moshed for them, and sang “West Coast” a cappella. Songs about drinking beer, like “Cheap Beer” (from their 2012 self-titled album) and “40oz. On Repeat” off popular 2015 album Too, resonated.

FIDLAR | photo by Megan Matuzak for WXPN

“I think we are becoming a Ska band,” guitarist/vocalist Zac Carper joked cheekily, teasing that it made Max (Kuehn, drums) mad as they all tuned up for “On Drugs” off their 2023 release That’s Life.Upon reflection, Carper said he might be right. In more support to this theory, another song off the new album Sand on the Beach has ska vibes as well. It’s an insanely catchy track and The Met crowd jumped with the beat. So, no complaints had (sorry, Max).

Enigmatically, in true Oliver Tree fashion, off-stage he announced that there would be a special guest before his three act show began. Two beings with computer screens on their heads with headphones, one all in white and one all in black, walked onstage. In a baseball announcer style, Tree stretched out the band’s name, revealing “Super Computer.”

Super Computer | photo by Megan Matuzak for WXPN

The latest signees to Alien Boy Records, Super Computer felt like a “take” on other helmet wearing artists of Electronica/EDM like Daft Punk or Deadmau5 that didn’t sacrifice quality. Fist pumps and steam cannons were present during the set, as well as hyper nostalgic 90s tech visuals, like the Microsoft brick maze screensaver, the rolling green hills desktop image, AOL Login, and the dreaded Dial Up dialog box.The tracks themselves were well written Electronica/EDM: suspenseful, intense, and satisfying.

On a bubblegum pink, patent leather couch, Oliver, the outline of his trademark wig visible, faced backstage and was met with boos when he said he wasn’t going to be playing. Instead, it was time to watch TV, and from next to him on the couch Tree hoisted up a huge remote and pressed the power button with gusto.

Oliver Tree | photo by Megan Matuzak for WXPN

Not only a concert, the set he was about to perform was also a movie, tv show, and Broadway musical. Oliver Tree has a laser focus on his trajectory as a multi-media artist and how he wants the crowd to feel. In three acts, the show started with the album Alone In A Crowd (2023), then Cowboy TearsDrown the World in a Swimming Pool of Sorrow (2022), and lastly, Ugly is Beautiful (2020). The Oliver Tree lore is stacked on top of each other. The three acts included Tree’s alter-egos Cornelius Cummings, Shawny Bravo, and Turbo.

Oliver Tree was a high-energy performer, covering the length of the stage repeatedly, guiding the crowd through nothing short of a calisthenics class. The Met filled with happy, bouncing, arm-waving fans, many of whom cosplayed Tree. Between acts there were opportunities for video shorts as in the opening skit, like an AI Trivago-looking guy pretending to be the condescending CEO of Alien Boy Records, interviews with the various Trees, and The Chadwick Report with Chad Chadwick.But the peak Oliver Tree moment was when he rode onto stage on a cow, all denim-clad with some fringe, and then stood on the saddle during “Cowboys Don’t Cry.” Think Beyonce riding in on a silver horse during the Renaissance tour.

Oliver Tree | photo by Megan Matuzak for WXPN

Somewhere towards the end of Act 2, Tree started asking the crowd if they wanted to hear one more song between every song, which (successfully) gaslit the crowd into thinking they were unable to identify when the set would end. When it seemed like it was over, Oliver Tree returned to the stage after getting the crowd to loudly sing “Ole.” “I’ve always wanted to do that,” Tree said.

Saturday night was something of a hometown show for Oliver Tree, who lived in Philly until he was 6. His family sat up in the balcony cheering, and with them was a birthday girl: 97-year old Grandma Tree. Beseeching the crowd, he asked The Met crowd if they would sing “Happy Birthday” to her and counted them in. “Come on guys this might be her last one,” Tree said mid-tune.

Before ending the night with “Life Goes On,” Oliver Tree motivated the crowd from the heart, telling them to do whatever has been on the back burner, and listen to themselves. And not let others try to mold you, because, as he put it, “something special won’t happen if you listen.”

(JK, Tree came back out for a scooter trick, left, then the 7-minute credits — with even more shorts — rolled as the crowd exited.)

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