With his debut album, British/Australian artist Ruel Vincent van Dijk – known simply as Ruel – is breaking the 4th Wall: taking inspiration from movies like The Truman Show and Fight Club, he chronicles the realization that his entire life is a lie. That’s all heady stuff, sure, but the album is easily digestible, full of upbeat bops like “Growing Up Is _____” and “You Against Yourself.”

After releasing 4th Wall in March, Ruel began the first leg of the 4th Wall Tour in Australia and New Zealand in April, followed by a stint in Asia in May. The show on Friday, July 7 at Shrine Auditorium and Expo Hall in Los Angeles was the last on the tour’s North American leg; Ruel will head to South America and Europe this fall.

The stage was dressed with ornamental house plants, with his guitars set up and ready to go. Ruel performed in front of an LED screen that lit up with visuals for each song: larger-than-life keyboards, an aerial view of planet Earth, the lyrics of each song as he performed. The real attraction, though, was Ruel himself: a dynamic performer, he easily covered every inch of the stage, as if to sing straight to each and every person watching.

What LANY is to heartbreak, RUEL is to growing up. That is to say: RUEL sings about growing up and all its trials and tribulations in a way that’s general enough to be relatable to anyone, and direct enough to get straight to the point. Growing up, as he sings, is indeed pretty weird – we might as well enjoy the ride – and there’s no better way to do that than with a RUEL show.

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