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Live Review: Dan Sultan, Claire Anne Taylor

25 February 2019 | 12:47 pm | Emily Dunn

"The natural vibrato in Sultan’s soulful and rich vocals had the audience stuck in a daze."

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The beautiful smell of smoked meats lingered in the air on a warm and sunny day two of Hobart Brewing Co’s annual feast of the senses – Blues, Brews & Barbecues. All walks of life converged to enjoy an afternoon filled with swing blues sets, barbecue competitions, and local street food and booze stalls.

The sun had begun to creep behind Mount Wellington by the time North West Tassie blues talent Claire Anne Taylor took to the stage. After opening with a stunning solo a cappella tribute to her late grandfather, Taylor was joined by her band, consisting of drums and double bass. With a knack for storytelling, she played a beautiful set of originals that told tales of life in rural Tasmania and her experiences with love, loss and adversity. To get you there – think Norah Jones with the raspy edge of Joss Stone.

Dan Sultan was welcomed by a full crowd who were eager to hear the first set of his Aviary Takes tour. Although a very different environment to any other Dan Sultan show I’d been to before, his unmistakable wit, charm and charisma were evident from the beginning.

Armed with only his Telecaster in hand and a single microphone at centre stage, Sultan began. Fitting in with the theme of the event, he opened with a bold cover of Ramblin’ – “a blues song [he] learnt as a kid”. This was quickly followed up by a stripped-back, guitar-driven version of his well-known track Under Your Skin, which had fans in the crowd singing along. The set that transpired into the golden hour of the afternoon included a stirring rendition of The Same Man, a powerful and emotive version of Rattlesnake, as well as a fun and well-received take of Kimberley Calling. His renditions of both Old Fitzroy and Hold It Together were also crowd favourites. 

Of the variety of stripped-backed numbers from his 13-year-long discography, it was a gut-wrenchingly honest, bold-yet-delicate cover of Gillian Welch’s Look At Miss Ohio that brought everyone back to earth. The natural vibrato in Sultan’s soulful and rich vocals had the audience stuck in a daze.

Grunty electric guitar hooks, soaring vocals and a splash of tasteful reverb across the board captivated the crowd, yet again showcasing why Dan Sultan is a true stalwart of the Australian music industry.

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