Tash Sultana at the Iveagh Gardens Dublin, 4 July 2019
Tash Sultana walks out on stage to a fully packed Iveagh Gardens on a balmy Summers’ eve. This 5-foot maestro is barely visible amongst the horde of instruments within their grasp on stage. Capturing the Iveagh Gardens from the get go, it is hard to believe that all this sound, rich and varied, is coming from one person.
Sultana’s ability to navigate from instrument to instrument, whilst simultaneously constructing a track live is exceptional – layer upon layer of percussion, base, trumpets etc. The dexterity and length of the melodic passages of the guitar solos were outstanding and truly impressive, with some in excess of 10 minutes in length. On stage is an ever-changing psychedelic backdrop which only added to the hypnotic ambience.
Performing mostly tracks from their ‘Flow State’ album, Sultana’s vocal range was phenomenal, not faltering once on exceptionally high notes and remained robust and powerful throughout. The vocals alone is one reason along to see Sultana live. Free Mind was a standout track as well as a section whereby Sultana needled the mandolin and then went onto beatbox with whistles. Sultana generously played Notion, that included a weaving instrumental, as well as the breakout track Jungle.
Tash Sultana was certainly the ring master and circus all at once, fully immersed in their performance, justifiably so with a full sweep of instruments playing in tandem. It is clear that they are playing for themselves firstly and the crowd are truly spectators to this musical parade, only breaking stride once throughout the eve to announce:
“They always try to divide us but it doesn’t matter about your race, sexuality or gender. On nights like this, we are all together and that’s really beautiful”
In their strong Australian accent they continued “Our bus broke down overnight on the way to Cork and I tell ya, I woke up in a tight state. That’s the thing with touring-something goes right, somethings go wrong. Isn’t that just life though.”
As well as a quick mention about their broken down tour bus en route to Cork, words were seldom spoken, Sultana choosing to let the music reach the audience instead. And that it certainly did; Tash Sultana played with devotion, passion and mastery in pitch perfect fashion.