Mention the term ‘one person band’ and you might fill your head with images of some old German guy with an accordian and tuba strapped to his body, castanets stapled to his pant legs, all the while playing a battered acoustic guitar and occasionally chanting something. Well, banish that mental picture to the depths of oblivion before setting foot into a Tash Sultana concert. The diminutive Aussie has an impressively wide range of musical expressions at her disposal. “I really fucking love to play” she said halfway through her set, and besides her EVH-like shredding ability, her drumming, keyboards, singing and even trumpet playing all played key roles in the overall sound. If you’ve ever wondered what a reggae band would be like with Hendrix solos and gospel singing, check her out; there are even shades of Ben Chasny and Sir Richard Bishop on the final track “Blackbird,” her open-tuned 12 string guitar ringing harmonics throughout the night.
Obviously loops form a substantial basis for her overall sound, as she gradually layers guitar, percussion, and samples that form the songs’ bedrock, leaving her to blaze through some ripping guitar or even beat box over the tracks. Her vistas are wide, and she relishes in mapping out new sonic territories. Her energy wasn’t limited to the stage either, and she took advantage of her wireless setup to leave stage and crank out a guitar solo while making a loop around Section 1 of the audience seating.
Openers Pierce Brothers comprise of, well you guessed it – two brothers! Pat and Jack had boundless energy as they took a standard acoustic guitar/percussion busker approach and added infectiously relentless enthusiasm as they played for a gradually filling in crowd. Maybe it’s a current Aussie thing but percussionist/drummer/didgeridoo player Pat was never glued to the stage. Starting out at the edge of the stage to tap out a rhythm, he moved all around, at times lending a hand to Jack’s guitar playing, striking the body to add percussion, or jumping down to the crowd and using some seat backs to get a different tone.
Click on the lead photo to see shots of both bands: