It’s clear that this sold out show is full of rapturous expectation as the crowd sings along to Bob Marley’s ‘Is This Love’ on the sound system before Tash Sultana’s entrance. It sets just the right tone for Tash’s antipodean reggae-flavoured jams.
A string of light bulbs adorn the stage as Tash walks on to a cheering reception, smiling and giving a wave. The enthusiasm of the crowd kicks up even further as she dons her guitar. “I haven’t even started yet” she grins. Tash layers her instruments into a rich ocean of sound that washes over the audience. She looks comfortable and at ease on stage, like she’s still in her bedroom, feeling at home with her music and jamming out just to enjoy the sounds she makes. She has an energy and absorption in her music that’s as hypnotic to watch as her beats are to hear. It’s always a pleasure to watch a musician that’s so wrapped up in the music they’re making. She fills the stage. Even though it’s just one performer and her instruments, it feels like I’m watching a whole band.
Early on in the show, Tash announces “If you’re gonna be a dickhead, the door’s there. This is a house of love. If you’re bi, gay, straight, trans…you are welcome here” likely a nod to Australia’s gay marriage survey that happened earlier in September.
The songs Tash play tend to push the ten minute mark, but they don’t feel long as the crowd is swept away in the music. She’s a gifted self-taught guitarist, and makes playing the trumpet seem easy. The pan-flute beat boxing, which sounds ridiculous on paper, somehow works. I even overheard someone saying “panflute – arguably the best instrument of all time…” let’s just chalk it down to him being caught in the moment.
Tash closes the show with the song that started this meteoric rise to sell out shows around North America and Europe, before she’s even released a full album. Jungle brings the house down and caps off an impressive 90 minutes in the warm, swaying embrace of a top quality musician.