Review by Benjamin Essoo

After becoming the first artist to sell out three nights at Brixton Academy before even releasing their debut album, Tash Sultana returns, 9 months later, but this time at the spacious Alexandra Palace, which houses more than double the amount at Brixton, for the opening night of the ‘Flow State’ World Tour.

Tash_Sultana_3

Photo by Jeremy Carron – London, 20th Sept 2018

The venue is plush, as expected from the Palace, and the arena itself gives you the impression you’re at a festival, yet indoors, with a huge bar at the back and food outlets too.

Fittingly, ‘Is This Love’ by Bob Marley, one of Tash’s cited musical influences, gets everyone dancing and in the mood right before their arrival on stage, starting off their two hour set with ‘Seed’, where they already show off their highly impressive vocal prowess.

Following on is ‘Big Smoke’ (Part 1 and Part 2), which sets the tone for the rest of the night as Tash, a jaw dropping instrumentalist boasting the ability to play 15 separate instruments, carefully constructed the piece, playing one part, looping, playing the next and repeating before beautifully bringing it all together and stepping up to the mic. Part-way through, they sling their guitar over their shoulder and pick up a trumpet, which receives a huge roar as their fans are left in awe.

The setlist, (including hits ‘Mystik’, ‘Notion’ and ‘Jungle’) is fairly short, at least on paper only, as Tash doesn’t merely perform their music as it’s recorded for the album. Each song is an experience in itself, carefully pieced together, performed and includes a winding instrumental, using a plethora of instruments, leading you down a path away from the original song and taking you somewhere completely different before bringing you back, much to the delight of everyone in the arena.

As a viewer, you’re not sure what to expect, with each song lasting at least 10 minutes and a different instrument or effect being used to perform insane solos and instrumentals, paired with psychedelic imagery on 5 separate LED screens in the background, which is very much in tune with Tash’s essence, leaving you almost in a trance. Their voice is note-perfect, moving through scales with such ease, they are an instrument themselves.

“It’s all about the music”, Tash relays part way through the set and that’s exactly what the night is about. It’s a complete and very accomplished musical experience performed by a musical enigma.

Seed (Intro)
Big Smoke Parts 1 & 2
Gemini
Mystik
Free Mind
Can’t Buy Happiness
Notion
Synergy
Jungle
Blackbird

Leave a Reply