That might seem a weird thing to open an article with - it’s a weird thing to say in general, really - but it gives you a good picture of the guy behind the music. Picture the guy who’d say that. He’d have a nice white fedora on, wouldn’t he? He’d have a spiritual white shirt that hangs off him a bit. He’d definitely have a beard. Yup, that’s him. You’re now picturing RY X.
All that definitely ties into the aura of the Australian’s performance. The whole gig feels quite spiritual. I would’ve categorised RY X going into this as sort of minimalist house music. His second solo album ‘Unfurl’ just dropped, and it’s a really beautiful tracklist of melodic, meditative electronica. This was his first gig promoting the new record, and thus the first time playing most of the tracks to a live crowd, and the live gig is an interesting interpretation of the record.
On stage RY X speaks about how he’s gone to great lengths to avoid using any kind of computer on stage. There’s a band up there with him, all of whom seem to be playing, amongst some other things, the keys, in some way or another, while the main man stays in centre stage with his guitar and soft, mumbling vocals.
It’s an incredibly sensual gig. If you can say that without thinking about, like, “sexy” stuff. Come on now. We’re all old enough to move past that. I don’t mean that loads of people were at it around the venue or anything, but there were a lot of candles on stage, fairy lights above the audience and in the intimate, unique Saint Luke’s setting, well, if someone proposed to you there - without all the sweaty fans around, of course - you’d probably cry, say yes, call them a romantic and then have some great sex while RY X played on the stage.
The decision to go full-instrument means you hear every beat perfectly, every note in the build up to euphoric, melodic highs and lows that pull you in. Some may turn up expecting a slightly more intense electronic presence, which is probably lost, or rather traded, by the lack of any machines on stage, but it’s a commendable performance, and to be able to turn an album which really does feel very electronic at times into such a live band success is impressive.
Old favourites Berlin and Howling get huge cheers from the Glasgow crowd when they air. The real highlights though come from the new songs. Untold is an incredibly addictive, yet simplistic song with vocals that float gently on top, The Water an intriguing lyrical journey set to gripping keys, and encore Foreign Tides shows a more funky side to the album. Yayaya is already a fan favourite, and all of the above were just played for the first time that night.
RY X really looks to connect with an audience. It’s an intimate gig made incredibly immersive through the environment. A great example of how music often deemed electronic, and thus snubbed by many as party music, can be truly beautiful and humbling when performed live.
Don’t turn up expecting a rave. This is a performer ready and wanting to cleanse your mind and draw out your emotional self, if you’ll let him. A real journey of a performance.