So lucky to have caught Luke Sital-Singh after his beautiful, non-“depressing” set opening for Angus and Julia Stone at The Fillmore last night. I remember first discovering him at Communion Music events back in 2013. Was a pleasure I was to hear his lovely tracks (especially ‘21st century heartbeat‘!) and to chat with him about touring with one of my other favorite London artists, The Staves. So glad that learn about his music journey since then and recent tour of the states. What a nice guy!
“I’ve got a 21st century heartbeat It’s a dying voice, it still haunts me 21st century heartbeat holding on”
Luke said this song as being inspired but all of the “f*cked up things happening in the world.” Such a beaut. Probably my favorite of his set. ❤
My heart begins to race as I recall the night that Tash Sultana put San Francisco’s legendary Fillmore under a spell. This gorgeous, gifted goddess — standing just 5 feet tall (my size!) — had everyone’s jaw on the floor as she flawlessly looped her hauntingly beautiful vocals with a menagerie of instruments (guitar, mandolin, keys, percussion, trumpet, pan flute, etc.) with swift execution. I caught myself grabbing my head several times (hoping it wouldn’t explode), asking myself, “HOW IN THE HELL?…” Tash first wrapped her hands around a guitar at the age of 3 years old, and I can only imagine that she clung to it for safety as others would their blankie. It’s apparent from her live performances that she plays music not just out of love, but out of necessity. She grips her guitar like she is gripping for dear life, and watching her slay her inner demons (she mentioned struggling with mental illness) one instrument at a time (I counted at least 10) was one of the most touching, euphoric musical experiences… Pure joy for one of the most pure, self taught music makers of our generation. She’s a comet of positivity that’s set on a trajectory to change the world for the better. 😀
I first stumbled upon Tash on my Facebook feed about a year ago, only to find out later she used busk on Bourke Street in Melbourne around the same time(Winter/Spring 2015) that I lived there. In fact, my friend Megan said that she was lured out of H&M by Tash’s spine-tingling vocals, and was in a deadlock watching her magic manifest on the streets. The song that reeled her in was ‘Harvest Love,’ a track that Tash described as one “for anyone who’s having a hard time at the moment… keep on rolling.” It was therefore pretty heart-wrenching to learn later, when Megan and I saw Tash together at the Swedish American Hall back in February, that it was written about a good friend who she had recently lost: “We came to the states a while back, but I had to turn around and come back home because we lost someone very important to us a couple days later, and it kind just taught me this thing about impermanence, and how everything in your life is actually impermanent; and it’s kinda like, you know, there are two things in your like that are inevitable: you are born, and then you die… In between that gap of life and death, wherever it’s gonna take you, it’s gonna take you, and at the end of the day at some point, there is a space that you get to fill with the best vibes that you possibly can feel… We come in peace. We just ask everybody to love the FUCK out of everybody… This song goes out to anyone that has lost anyone recently. It’s called Harvest Love.” Megan and I looked at each other with tears welling up in our eyes, and we knew this one would never leave our hearts. You could tell that the intense reach of this song comes from a place of intense pain, and Tash does not hold back as she wails the first verse:
“Harvest your love, harvest your love, for me I’ll lay it down, I’ll lay it down, slowly Put your love in the sand As it makes no demands I believe But you keep on rolling Like a rolling stone And you fight until the finish line Carries you home”
(I want to purchase ‘Harvest Love‘ but can’t find it anywhere online!)
What impresses me most is Tash’s ability to turn pain into beauty, and I was shocked to learn that both chart-topping hits ‘Jungle‘ and ‘Notion‘ were a “product of heartbreak.” ‘Jungle‘ is the song that moved her bedroom recordings into SOLD OUT VENUES ALL ACROSS THE GLOBE – a true masterpiece from start to finish. It’s as if Tash uses music as a shield again negative thoughts (depression) and negative influences (drug addiction), and is excited for others to embrace this same musical armour. In fact, she gave a nod to her US audiences who are used to “growing up in such an awesome music culture that you go because you LOVE IT, whereas back at home in Australia, everyone just wants to get fucked up all the time.” I was really touched to learn that Tash has became a mental health ambassador for Australia’s BeyondBlue, an organization that provides information and support on mental health.
I still recall being lathered in chills when I read this post on her wall back in January: “Social reminder to anyone who is feeling the heat or wants to give up. DON’T. Every time you take a step up within yourself, you take a step up within the world. In the music world or any creative path is a sensitive path to tread. Some people are going to fall in love with what you do, some people aren’t going to get it and other people are just going to be literally complete ASSHOLES. So when you come across those assholes, which you will there is a new emoji that you can use which is thisand just remind yourself that you were in a perfectly happy mood before you knew they existed, so forget they do because they’re just a bunch of cunts. Put your head on your shoulders and kick some absolute fucking ass. Tune it up to 11, shove it in their face and down their throats And DO NOT stop creating. Oh and also don’t forget to tell them to get fucked. Keep on going. The ones the matter are the ones who show love.” That last line hit me like a brick wall, and it’s simple but profound message will remain with me forever.
Tash kicked off her set at the Fillmore with some serious smoke (‘Big Smoke‘) and has some house rules to lay down before SETTING US ALL ABLAZE:
“This is to be followed or you can please GET THE F*CK OUT OF HERE…< span style=”color: #3366ff”>1) If you are racist, get the fuck out 2) If you are homophobic, get the fuck out3) If you are transphobic, GET THE FUCK OUT. < span style=”color: #3366ff”>Cause the world can be a bit of a harsh place but I’m trying to leave it in a nice scenario… Sweeet, just don’t be a dickhead and we’re all in sweet.” ❤
HELL YES. I’m glad there were no dickheads that night. I wish more musicians were as outspoken as she is.
After ‘Big Smoke‘ came ‘Gemini‘ (sick percussion), ‘Notion‘ (SLAYED), ‘Murder to the Mind‘ (during which she whips out the trumpet and tantalizes us with tender toots!), ‘Synergy‘ (after she jams out furiously on mandolin and BEAT-BOXES A PAN FLUTE), a song (untitled video below) with a hauntingly beautiful keyboard intro that sounds like a symphony of strings (really wish I knew the name of it!), and ‘Jungle‘ (MASSIVE DANCE PARTY – duh!). THEN, as if Tash could not freaking BLOW MINDS EVEN MORE, she TAKES A SEAT for an experience that I simply cannot put into words. It just won’t do justice. Tash first graces the strings with one hand, getting us in the groove with melodic medleys that remind me of a cross between flamenco and post-rock. But just as we start getting in the groove, Tash switches it up and starts attacking the strings with the ferocity of a lion, smiling as she does so. It’s as if she enjoys the thrill of getting us going one way and then redirecting us to see if we are still on our toes (like what I used enjoy doing with my opponents in soccer, haha). She’s got extraordinary ease with her audience that can be attributed to years of hailing crowds on a busy streets and winning the hearts of strangers. This wicked 14 min guitar solo (titled ‘Blackbird‘) exemplifies the extensive breadth of her musical abilities and the eclectic influences that shape her unique, one-in-a-million kind of sound. Tash Sultana is not only a make of music, she is a maker of magic. I don’t know anyone who is not put under her spell. I’m just so glad the world has recognized this too; Not only has she racked up SOLD OUT TOURS in US, Europe, and Australian (and soon South America), but she has recieved multiple music nominations, including Triple J’s hottest artist of the year and ARIA’s (1) Best Independent Release (Notion), (2) Breakthrough Artist, (3) Best Blues & Roots Album (Notion), and (4) Best Australian Live Act. I’ve “GOT THIS NOTION” that Tash Sultana is going to change the world with her music. Well, let’s face it – she pretty much already has. ❤
STILL AMPED UP after the INSANELY AWESOME, INCREDIBLY INFECTIOUS performance by The Pierce Brothers opening for Tash Sultana at The Fillmore. These awesome Aussie twins (Jack and Pat) have been kicking up dust all over the world, wowing people with their high octane energy and pure joy for their craft. I was mad impressed by their unique DIY setup and their ingenious blend of dugeridoo, percussion (bongos/cans), tambourine, harmonica, and guitar, and at one point Jack even started tapping the stage equipment (light scaffolds) right in front of me to create new sounds. I couldn’t believe he was playing tambourine with his foot while banging on percussion and blowing into his dugeridoo. That’s some crazy coordination! But what impressed me the most was ability for Jack and Pat to deliver a boot-stomping, heart-throbbing, head-bopping performance despite their equipment breaking on stage. Their “one shot is all I got” attitude was greatly appreciated by everyone watching. I also really appreciated the message that Jack delivered before playing the song ‘Genevieve‘ that they wrote for their sister suffering from cancer: “There’s always love and support if you reach out, and that’s what we’re going to do right now.” I will DEFINITELY be seeing them again when they return to SF, and when they do, I will have to bring sturdier boots! My heal actually broke off during their set! ❤
It had been 3 years since I last saw Asgeir, the incredibly talented artist who was my initial hook into the Icelandic music scene. Amped by the recent release of Asgeir’s beautiful album (‘Afterglow’) and his slay-worthy covers of Adele, Abba, Nirvana, The National, and others as part of his unique #asgeirstraigttovinyl project (taking requests from all over the world and recording them straight to vinyl for 24 hr straight), I could hardly contain myself for their show at The Fillmorelast night. They delivered a flawless performance from start to finish (75 min) without any interruption, making it easier for the crowd to be whisked away to another world (including the security guard who told me his mind wandered to a far away place). I think we all sported an Asgeir “afterglow” after hearing ‘I Know You Know’ (“Oh, how I long for light.. A light that won’t leave me… Never to go away”) and ‘Torrent’ (my favorites across both albums) come alive right in front of our eyes. Torrent was the first song in Asgeir‘s collection that had me hooked, and the fact that he saved it for the encore was super special. The drums and keys in that one are so freaking awesome! I am so happy that they came to San Francisco to serenade us with their “stardust,” and I look forward to more of it at Iceland Airwaves Music festival in November! Check out my previous review of Asgeir from 2014 and my recent playlist inspired my his track ‘I Know You Know.” 😀
I knew after first discovering Night Riots at the Rickshaw Stop‘s Popscene presents back in October that it was only a matter of time before they would be rioting the stage with big acts. I recall mentioning this to their guitarist Matt (who would be playing an ‘I’m on Fire‘ cover with Andrew McMahon last night). Fast forward a few months and they be on tour with both Atlas Genius and Andrew McMahon and the Wilderness. They also recently played alongside two other bands who I love, Wild Cub and Unknown Mortal Orchestra . With a sound (especially lead vocals) reminiscent of The Killersand siiiick drum trick skits reminiscent of Nothing More, I was pretty freaking blown away. Their hit song ‘Contagious’ is, you guessed it- CONTAGIOUS, and their highly energetic, enthusiastic stage presence (Matt playing guitar behind his back and Travis jumping on top of the drum set) follows suit. Check them out at The Fillmore tonight! @blncdbrkfst @onestowatch @thebaybridged #nightriots #uctheatreberkeley #andrewmcmahoninthewilderness #musicforthemasses #bandontherise
CRAZY ODDS to think that I was huddled between brothers Keith and Mike Jeffery of Atlas Genius EXACTLY 4 years ago when I saw them on May 7 at Electrowerz in London. They were as just as kickass as I remember, pumping up the crowd with older (If So, Backseat, When it Was Now) and newer (Stone mill, Stockholm, Where I belong), as well as a super sick cover of ‘You Spin Me Round (Like a Record).’ A few if Mike’s guitar parts remind me a bit of Foals , which is ALWAYS a good thing (love that band). And if Mike’s climbing into the crowd didn’t already have the crowd jumping for joy, he made of it later when asking everyone to crouch down and jump up in unison. The peak participation was of course at the very end with their epic encore of Trojans, the track that sparked their global success. Now most people can get enough of those “Trojans in my head.” 😀 So glad to have caught them on tour with the INCREDIBLE Andrew McMahon and the Wilderness last night at UC Theatre In Berkeley! They play the @thefillmore tonight in SF – not to be missed! @blncdbrkfst @apeconcerts @wbr #atlasgenius #andrewmcmahoninthewilderness #wildernesstour #uctheaterberkeley #meetingtheband #musicforthemasses #nootherkindofhigh
“I’m taking more risks now, (YES) I’m stepping out of line. I put up my fists now, Until I get what’s mine. Should have been you, Could have been anyone. You see I never missed my chance to run I would go anywhere with you” – ‘How Can I‘
SLAYED by this Laura Marling favorite alongside others at The Fillmore in SF last night. This woman is a GODDESS and wise wordsmith beyond her years. I am always impressed by her vivid vignettes and subtle, spitfire lyrics. There is a reason I have seen her more than half a dozen times now! Be sure to check out her new album, Semper Femina! I can’t believe its her 6th one and she’s not even 30 yet! Virgin Records @folkyeahevents @communionmusic @banjo_plucker @sfintercom #lauramarling#thefillmoresf#newalbumtour#videosonmyyoutube