This review was published on the AU review on 04/03/2014 and can be viewed here.
Ahead of the release of his third studio album, Blackbird, Dan Sultan and his band performed a mid Sunday afternoon Corner Hotel gig to celebrate the release of first single, the sexy and sassy “Under Your Skin.”
Award winning fellow Indigenous artists The Medics supported the hometown band with their extremely loud yet meaningful rock tunes. Most of the small number of people who’d turned up early enough to catch them perform probably hadn’t heard of the band or their music before however they cheered and clapped at the conclusion of each song.
Performing for a bit over an hour, Dan Sultan showed his love for his hometown showing off many tracks from the forthcoming album recorded in Nashville and set for release on April 4th. Sultan flogged the release by telling his fans, “You don’t have to like it, you just have to buy it.”
But he has nothing to worry about as the packed out crowd were taking in the new tunes with many standing in silent awe, their eyes glued to the musician and his owl tattoo popping out above his shirt; the rest were dancing their hearts out.
Tracks previewed from the new album, including “Loving’s Just For Fools”, “Ain’t Thinking About You” and “Waiting At The End Of The Phone” were catchy with their mix of pop beats, rock guitar and acoustic parts, hummable tunes and emotion-fueled lyrics and were well-received by the audience. A couple of oldies were thrown in as well.
One thing about Dan Sultan is that when he performs he sings with such gusto he pulls funny faces that show his passion for hitting the right notes with emotion. And you could tell he was genuinely happy to be playing to his home crowd as he victoriously double fist pumped the air many times throughout the set.
Sultan communicated with the crowd quite a bit, bestowing stories about some of the songs and when heckled, he would respond. The one thing he said that stuck out the most though was nothing to do with any of the songs, but to do with his experiences doing promo interviews. “Journalists always ask me about my heritage [Dan Sultan is of Aboriginal descent], ask me about my fucking records,” he said. There is something about Sultan’s music and the effect it has on the listener that is hard to put into words.
Before embarking on a 2 song encore he brought his nephew onto the stage wearing a shirt that said music is life and a pair of headphones to block the loud music. Sultan tried to get the toddler to play air guitar but he was too shy to show off his skills. Various other family members were in the crowd including his mother.
Having recently played alongside Aussie rock legends Hunters & Collectors as support acts for some of Bruce Springsteen’s recent shows in Australia to crowds of hundreds of thousands of people, Dan Sultan is sure to catapult into the mainstream with his cheeky storytelling style of rock, bluesy, country tunes. There’s just always something special about hearing an artists pour out their new tunes before releasing them to the rest of the world. You become the ones that make or break whether a track will be released or not.