Tash Sultana + Ocean Alley: Live review + gallery | Riverstage | Thursday 21 March 2019

The powerhouse that is Tash Sultana hit the river stage under the full moon on Thursday night with special guests Ocean Alley as part of her ‘Flow State’ tour. From start to end, this was an epic night of Australian music. (Flow State: An Optimal state of consciousness where action and awareness merge, where you are focused on the task at hand and everything else disappears)

Ocean Alley’s funk and reggae sounds, fused with psychedelic and classic rock, never let up. Naturally they played  crowd favourite and triple j hottest 100 Number 1 ‘Confidence’, along with their other hits, including the cover of 1970s number ‘Baby Come Back’.

Then came the marvel of Tash Sultana. Her stage was set with a table covered in a printed cloth with plenty of ‘Om’ signs, topped with some instruments and a neon lit flamingo, rainbow and palm tree upon it. Later in the evening she explained that these are the things she has in her studio at home. She brings them on tour so that on every stage she plays, she feels at home, even in the 9,500 strong Riverstage. As she exclaimed, looking around: ‘Wow there’s so many f***** people here!’

Being witness to this woman crafting the layers to each song, dropping in some crazy beats in all the right places, it is hard to believe that one person is the creator and commander of all this sound. Projections unfolding behind her told the visual story, creating a deeper experience of the evening. She brought more in as she played, building the layers, pulling out incredible trumpet moments, a mandolin solo, and when you thought she had all the elements done, she rocked out on the pan flutes. Her guitar wizardry was obviously a stand out.

Most songs of the night were off her latest album ‘Flow State’, yet one huge moment was from her earlier song ‘Notion’. She played with the guitar in it for at least 10 minutes, weaving magic with her instrument and then her voice.

Coming to the end of the show she gifted the crowd with ‘Jungle’. She introduced the song saying “I wrote a song in my bedroom one day, not thinking anything of it, and it turns out, how it turns out.”

It will keep ‘turning out’ for Tash Sultana. There is no doubting why she sold out the Brisbane Riverstage Thursday night, and is selling out around the world. She played magic for over two hours, leaving the stage after the wild finale of jungle, smoke and mad projection. We knew she was coming back, as a seat came out on the stage, but we called for her anyway, just to make absolutely sure. And out she came, leaving a lasting impression with her song ‘Blackbird’.

Tash Sultana is a force, and what an honour it was to be a witness to it.

IMAGES (c) Simone Gorman-Clark

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