Margaret Court Arena, Melbourne, December 2017
“If you’re homophobic… racist… transphobic, get the f**k out of my gig”.
It was fitting that an unusually staunch 22-year-old broke the attendance record for Margaret Court Arena with a defiant message.
Gracing the eager crowd of roughly 7,500 with brazenly embraced profanity, Tash Sultana, former Bourke Street busker, let her evolving rollercoaster of a sound do the talking for the remainder of the night.
After the opening acts of Willow Beats and Pierce Brothers, the latter (also former buskers) who combine a unique musical diversity with a country pounding beat reminiscent of Mumford & Sons, Sultana introduced herself to her Melbourne hometown with regular kick starter Big Smoke Pt 2.
With the heavy build up of synths, combined with wavering guitar riffs and the electronic drums facilitated by the power of the contemporary loop station, the bone-rattling wail of “when the big smoke comes” elicited grooving in the stands. However, Sultana isn’t the stereotypical mosh pit artist, as swaying replaced the jumping encouraged by current pop acts.
Gemini, from her intensely popular Notion EP, followed, with Sultana’s trademark jamming that almost appears to be interpretive, such is the ease and relaxation that is exuded by her passionate revelling in her own music.
With new song Murder on the Mind reacting well with the brimming crowd, the keyboard led rhythm, joined with the recognisable saxophone, inspired the closest resemblance to dancing yet. However, this was all but a brief pocket of partying, as Sultana reached a poignant highlight of the night with a YouTube original Harvest Love. After calling out to the members of the audience who had ever experienced mental turmoil, or just emotional struggles as a whole, the rollicking beauty of steady electric guitar along with the angelic high pitched crooning of Sultana, the flash light on thousands of phones swayed in time to a truly memorable cacophony of sound.
Notion was 10 minutes of peaks and troughs that toyed with emotions and delighted the ears, followed by the crowd favourite Jungle, encouraging us to stand up and sway for the passionate uproar of “welcome to the jungle”. The encore was an acoustic heavy explosion of Sultana’s musical diversity and talent, including by a variety of instruments and the curious mix of pan flute and beat boxing.
And, as quickly as the bushy-haired pocket rocket swaggered onto stage bare foot, she was gone, leaving a noticeable silence and an alteration to emotions that earmarks a moving and meaningful concert full of noise and maturation.