Tash Sultana Plays It All…Literally in Vancouver

"vancouver aliriiiiight!"

Australian multi-instrumentalist Tash Sultana stopped by the Orpheum, and brought down the house.
I have a loop pedal…well actually I have two; and I still can’t fathom how Sultana does it, maybe even more so because I can barely put a loop together with just guitar, in my living room with no one watching, and the ability to screw up as much as possible without anyone knowing. (Tash Sultana, if you ever see this and like a challenge, (try and) teach me your ways. 
But it wasn’t just a guitar going through a loop pedal, but an entire one-person band. Sultana seamlessly grooved between; guitar, bass, drums, keys, synth, flute, and freakin’ saxophone. Oh, I almost forgot, trumpet. And of course the Aussie sings on top of it all. Damn.
Of all the instruments, it was the sax that got the most love from the crowd. The highlight of Tash and the Sax came during an extended sax solo. Where an out of breath Sultana stopped to take a few breaths, showing that there was in fact a mere mortal (barely) on stage. The crowd cheered on, and Sultana smiling at the love, and playing into it, continued on with the solo.

I was worried going into the show it was just going to be Sultana alone on the stage. While playing everything and looping is insanely impressive, it can put the performer in a box of sorts. While the first four songs were just the charismatic 28 year old, they were backed up after that. Which gave Sultana more freedom to move. One move came in the song right after us photographers had to stop shooting. Sultana came to the front of the stage with their guitar, and soloed on their knees, hair flying, and all I could think was “come on!”, as it’s the shot you want.

"I feel so fucking free now."

It wasn’t until about an hour in, that Sultana really spoke. Telling a story about their last time in Vancouver. Let’s just say, that it started smoother than last year (T.M.I). They remarked on the venue and the crowd, of whom was yelling “I love you” throughout the night, with a few catching Sultana seemingly off-guard, cracking up at the remark. The crowd itself was on its feet the entire night, except for one person in the front row, with Sultana playfully calling out the person. The crowd too, was loud. Honestly one of the loudest crowds I’ve been to this year. After the quick chat, it was time to get back to the music.

"You're going to want to be standing, love"

While Sultana is the definitive star of the show, I feel obligated to give props to the crew here. This is a technical show, and while Sultana is doing most of the heavy lifting, the setup itself is quite impressive. Not only was there the main hub, but two risers on each side of the stage with loopers on the floor. Their guitar tech had his work cut out for him, seamlessly switching guitars out so that when Sultana reached for one, the right one, it was there. There’s also the video element of the show, with remote cameras set up around the main hub, and a camera operator in the front row. All of that projected on a screen spanning the entire back of the stage. Bringing the audience into Sultana’s world.
Though I will say one thing about the set up. In its form, when Sultana was singing behind the mic, which has a screen on the stand (for looping purposes) they kind of get lost behind all the tech. Especially because they didn’t use the drums or chimes after the fourth song. So if that was able to be taken away, it would give a bit more space. Or move the mic to where the drums were, and I think that would give a better view. All that being said, it’s a minor gripe. I’d say the set up took a bit away from the show, but didn’t make it any less enjoyable, if that makes sense. 

After the high tempo main part of the set, Sultana came out for an encore, solo, playing just their 12-string guitar. The show itself was two hours on the dot, which today is almost unheard of, with most shows today being  90 minutes. The boisterous crowd was buzzing as they left. 
For myself the evening I had wasn’t a good one, going into the show, a show of which I almost didn’t get in because I forgot my ID. Thankfully I did get in because Tash Sultana turned it around with the hell of a show they put on. For what will be the last show before Backline Beat turns 1, I couldn’t have asked for a better one. 

For a bonus scroll down to see shots from opener, Chiiild.

"That was probably too much information, but we're all friends now."


Hey, Jade here. Thanks for visiting Backline Beat. If you like the site and would like to help support it, I’d be very grateful. Every little bit helps. Right now I’m an army of one, and would like at some point to be able to bring on other voices, to be a part of Backline Beat. Below, are links to Patreon, PayPal, and Linktree.

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                                                      — Jade Dempsey  

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