GIG REVIEW: Tash Sultana at AFAS Live

A friend from Melbourne told me about Tash Sultana a couple years ago, and she showed me the live bedroom recording of Jungle on YouTube. I still remember that we were paying for our brunch at a café (one of the Beany Greens) in London and I was impressed immediately!

It’s not the first time Tash has toured The Netherlands. She already toured last year at a smaller venue but I missed out. This year though, I got lucky, because my friend Liloe Rix bought me a ticket for my birthday!

Pierce Brothers were the support act. They were like the extraverted younger cousins of Xavier Rudd and John Butler with didgeridoo, stomp box, open tuning and a hint of Walk Off The Earth with the two hands/one fretboard coordination. SO much energy! And audience participation.. it’s hard to be a support act, but they definitely proved themselves a solid musical duo capable of warming up the crowd for Tash Sultana.

But we were there for Tash. A one-woman show with acoustic and electric guitars, banjo, trumpet, pan flute (which she said was the best 50 cents she had every spent in Thailand), synths, drum pads, loops, effects pedals and more equipment I wish I could get a closer glimpse of! My favourite was her octaver though, I really want to know which one she used, because it sounded so subby on her voice and guitar.

The audience was really chill. She remarked that it was great that her audience was made up of all types, not just one gender, race or age. I noticed a lot of young people. generally more girls than boys, many girl couples, and a very international crowd which was why I saw many girls who were on the shorter side. Usually at a concert full of Dutch people I’m trying to see through armpits. Tash herself has a bit of a hippy vibe, with an Indian pattern blanket covering her synths, playing barefoot, salt-rock light holders and incense that for a while was strong, until all I could smell was weed. I have no idea where that was coming from!

She set out her ‘rules’ very quickly after her opening song. They were: 1. If you’re homophobic, get the fuck out of here. 2. If you’re racist, get the fuck out of here. 3. If you’re transphobic, get the fuck out of here.

There was a lot of live looping and improvising, and a lot of smiles from her! Tash was having so much fun on stage! The crowd was incredibly quiet and respectful (at least where I was standing), which is very rare for Dutch crowds, who are usually hands full of beer, loud and aggressive. Having said that, Tash said that the Dutch audience was so ‘polite’, and she said she hadn’t had a bra thrown at her yet, or in South America there were people trying to get into her hotel room at 4am.. wtf.

She played for a total of 2 hours without much of a break. She performed tracks from her latest Flow State album, which has more synths than her previous stuff which is guitar-based.

It was easy to get in a trance while listening to the songs. At some point I got lost in which song I was listening to, and some of them blurred into one another, indeed like a flow state. When she performed Jungle, the song on YouTube that has now 21M views, I saw a lot of phones starting to record, which I hadn’t seen too many phones previously. This crowd was really chill, like I said. And at a certain point, when there was the break of the song, I looked around, and I saw a lot of people smiling, some closing their eyes, but simultaneously smiling and enjoying the same moment altogether. It was such a magical moment.

Tash said she would be playing at Ziggo Dome next year, which is an even bigger stadium. That’s so great for her! Just a girl, once busking on Bourke street in Melbourne, to filling up stadiums around the world.. what an inspiration.

More about Tash Sultana:

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