Live Review: Ruel, Dylan Joel, Francoistunes

9 July 2018 | 3:41 pm | Tobias Handke

"He might still be in high school but Ruel possesses a magical voice and is well on the road to becoming one of the voices of our generation."

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Melbourne's Francoistunes mixes smooth R&B vocals with modern hip hop beats and has the growing crowd bopping along. LastDolla is a buoyant trap meets pop number while Seasons finds him flowing over an acoustic guitar provided by guest Zach Slater. Sound problems hit and Francoistunes is forced to sing a capella while the issues are resolved before ending with the upbeat ShowMeLuv.

Wearing a bowling shirt and looking like a typical bro, Dylan Joel is surprisingly the opposite. Charming and slightly awkward, Joel uses a loop pedal to provide back-up due to the absence of his band. Very much in the mould of UK artist Ed Sheeran, Joel plays a number of covers and remixes, including Michael Jackson's The Way You Make Me Feel, R Kelly's Ignition, Nelly's Ride Wit Me and TLC's No Scrubs, but it's his solo efforts Snow and the rollicking Run To The River that demonstrate his true talent.

Having supported the likes of Khalid, Angus & Julia Stone and Gallant, rising pop superstar Ruel is finally playing his debut headline show here in Melbourne. Possessing the voice of an angel and looking every bit his 15 years of age, Ruel's euphoric debut single, Golden Years, is the ideal way to get things started. The song segues into Chance The Rapper's verse from Kanye West's Ultralight Beam, displaying the Sydneysider's versatility as an artist. 

His Like A Version cover of Jack Garratt's Weathered goes down a treat, as does his lesser-known take on John Legend's Who Did That To You from Quentin Tarantino's Django Unchained. But as with any artist, it's Ruel's own material that has the sold-out audience captivated. The haunting Say and modern soul of Not Thinkin' Bout You are wonderful showcases of the kid's vocal prowess, while a couple of unreleased tracks, in particular the soothing Gospel, hint at a less poppy sound moving forward. 

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Good buddy and support act Dylan Joel joins Ruel on stage and provides back-up vocals during Not Thinkin' Bout You before the two perform Joel's Run To The River again, with the crowd sliding from left to right at Joel's behest. Dazed & Confused, with its spectacular hook, is followed by the soaring keyboard-centric Don't Tell Me before Ruel leaves the stage to thunderous applause. He might still be in high school but Ruel possesses a magical voice and is well on the road to becoming one of the voices of our generation.