9   +   5   =  

With the Freo Doctor at bay, dusk pulled over the sunset sky and ocean gulls returned to perches in the Norfolk Pines, the surf rock guitar ditties of Big Words set the scene for a phenomenal evening of Australiana Psychedelic Rock. We were not ready!

Three distinct chords of The Comedown reverberated around the stadium. Melancholic keys and desperate words grounded the audience. Mercury Retrograde had been lifted, saged by the heavy riffs and intermittent harmonies which spoke the truths of a collective. In lighter moments we danced like hula women swaying in our imaginary grass skirts to the opening bars of the Byron boys’ latest, Stained Glass.

Taking us back to their 2013 roots, before rising to fame as 2018’s Hottest 100 number one, frontman Baden Donegal sang visions of sun rays, lemonade icy poles, and Kellogs’ golden Cornflake honey joys in the words of Yellow Mellow. Whatever meaning their latest album Chiaroscuro had for the individual, the energy was electric. Silhouettes of young women raised on young men’s shoulders spread wings of invincibility over the crowd. A shoey was downed in the opening seconds of the set. Fender guitar licks searching for answers in past relationships, questions of identity and looming ‘what ifs’ hung over us, and we danced as one.

But nothing could prepare us for what was to come. Music super-freak shrouded in her Melbourne Hipster façade, Tash Sultana, brought new meaning to what it is to perform a world tour. Transcending us over the five continents and otherworldly dimensions, this one-human band lifted us to a higher dimension connecting us spiritually to the present moment—and boy what a moment to be in. We cried we laughed, we made guttural noises that rose from deep within.

The pied piper guided us with beatboxing satyr pipes, mandolin shredding, trumpet solos and smoky vocals, into the abyss of our own minds. The build and sudden drop of energy throughout the mammoth set saw the audience immersed in the deep ocean depths, far off galaxies, and nature coven’s abundant in ethereal life. Travelling through black holes, we landed with kaleidoscope eyes, blistered feet and raspy throats back in our bodies, grounded at Fremantle Oval.

Emotion erupted and smouldered leaving us hanging onto the final flickering note. Not one person heckled for an encore—it was not our right to demand more from what was a superhuman delivery of music.

I was completely humbled; grateful to be in the presence of such wizardry.

Her music is more than the stuff you sway to, this smattering of stardust that had us entranced was, and is music to feel to—all the things.