September 19, 2022 at the Sinclair
It was a cool and rainy night as a huddled line of concertgoers waited behind the gleaming sign of the Sinclair, anxiously anticipating a live performance from Tamino. Tamino is a Belgium native, and attended the Amsterdam Royal Conservatory for professional vocal training. He is the grandson of Egyptian singer and movie star Muharram Fouad, and incorporates Egyptian influence into much of his music. Combining these cultural melting pots, Tamino has evolved into a Belgian-Egyptian version of Jeff Buckley, and has already opened for the legendary Patti Smith earlier this month.
The venue was packed to the brim when I entered, and opener Alexander was just getting on stage. His three-piece band consisted of a keyboard player, bassist, and himself on guitar and vocals. The set was slow-core and folk-like, elevated by gut-wrenching vocals from Alexander. The music perfectly fit the Tamino aesthetic, warming up the crowd for a highly anticipated set. As he announced his final song in the opening act, I began to look towards the upper mezzanine, captivated by the dazzling disco ball hanging above me, and I noticed every person in the packed balcony seemed to be entranced – swaying along to Alexander’s mesmerizing, passionate guitar solo during his final minutes on stage.
After much anticipation, the stage lights flashed on and off, and the air filled with a thin fog as a lone microphone stand stood on stage. Finally, Tamino walked onto the stage with a traditional twelve string acoustic guitar, dressed in all black with a thick leather jacket. He began to sing from his 2019 album Amir, only needing his voice and guitar to captivate the entire audience. His effortless vocal runs glazed over the room, caked in an airy reverb that created a dreamlike state in the room. He stood on center stage alone with a singular white light beaming from behind him, creating an intensity and intimacy within the venue that felt like a private concert. After the first couple tracks from his 2019 album, he introduced himself to the audience, revealing his European accent. He switched between about six different guitars as the show went on, alternating tone and style on nearly every track.
After delivering a beautiful live version of “Persephone,” he paused and announced his second album would be released on Friday September 23rd, and the crowd cheered with excitement. The intimate venue even allowed for a woman in the audience to announce to Tamino that she had come from Iran and been waiting five years to see him live. He graciously thanked her and then began to play “You Don’t Own Me,” which he prefaced by saying “Well, now this is awkward.” He continued alternating guitars and even debuted some new music from his coming album, delivering each track with exquisite vocal control and an irrefutable sincerity. As his set came to a close, he took his leather jacket off, which caused high-pitched screams to jolt from the crowd. He sang some of his final songs with a beautiful nylon acoustic guitar, hypnotizing the audience with his effortless finger picking style and euphoric vocal runs spanning three full octaves. The show came to a dream-like close, everyone in the audience astonished and breath taken by the incredibly raw and ethereal performance from Tamino.