By Owen Scott
If it’s not immediately obvious, Tamino is a master of the slow burn. A mysterious, almost tragic figure on his albums, he mixes forlorn, falsetto vocals with grand instrumental backings, always knowing when to belt and when to whisper.
His new album Sahar was a triumph, equally as good as his first, Amir. After an extended silence following his first album, he’s back and bigger than ever, visiting the UK for the second time in half a year.
Appearing while playing ‘A Drop Of Blood’ from his latest album Sahar, lit only from behind in beams of white light, he seemed to float onto the stage. The mysterious aura that he cast was a constant throughout the show. It forms part of his infamous mystique as an artist and is an aura similar to one cast by an artist he has opened for in the past: Lana Del Rey. Both artists are masters of their aesthetics and work this into their stage personas, Lana Del Rey with her vintage outfits and orchestral production, and Tamino with his live band, complete with a cellist and Tamino playing the oud, as well as his evocative lighting.
The crowd was immediately captivated by the spell he cast and this is something he was clearly aware of. Through his setlist, he kept the pace of the crowd, mixing slower songs like ‘The Longing’ with more energetic ones like ‘The Flame’. His anthemic song ‘Fascination’ captured the road trip feeling the music video presents, with the sweeping guitars and golden lights capturing the feeling of Kerouac’s On The Road.
However, for a second, Tamino let that otherworldly persona drop and momentarily broke the spell with – of all things – ‘Celebration’ by Kool & The Gang. It was one of his crew members’ birthday and Tamino passed him a cake across the audience, with seemingly a great deal of faith that the cake would make it to his friend in one piece.
Somehow, though, it did. In the same moment, he posed for a fan’s BeReal. The fan had originally asked him to take the BeReal himself but the gap between the stage and the crowd was too big, so he posed instead. Those two moments, the BeReal and the very surprising ‘Celebration’ interlude, were refreshing in showing a side to him that was less guarded, outside of his music.
The crowd’s strongest reaction was to Tamino’s biggest song ‘Indigo Night’. A rare shout erupted through the crowd, who up until this point had been entranced into swaying, by his singing. The stage was bathed in purple light as the tragic song unfolded, with the slow guitar reverberating through the hall and Tamino’s melancholic falsetto reaching seemingly inhuman heights. The song was truly a spectacle to behold and it is clear why it’s such a favourite.
He closed out the show with the epic ‘w.o.t.h’ (‘Will Of This Heart’), the most urgent song on the setlist, which he performed with a visceral intensity, heavy drums, and flashing strobe lights, as well as another fan favourite, the deeply yearning ‘Habibi’. He then returned for the encore, with a tribute to long-time fans in the form of an old song, ‘Smile’.
The show was truly enchanting. Mixing fan favourites from his first album with tracks from his latest album, as well as performing his new song ‘Oldest Devotion’, he had the audience hooked at all times. The barrage of flowers hurled at him when the show ended said as much.
If you haven’t listened to Tamino yet you’re missing out. You can catch details about his tour here and stream his latest album Sahar below:
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