To celebrate the release of his new album Killer, Melbournian Dan Sultan is taking his blues and roots on the road throughout Australia to the masses of fans.
Getting through the traffic packed streets of Melbourne and passing The Forum before doors, the line was already backed up around into the alley. It may not have been a sellout crowd but to the fans, it was already known to be a big night, even after the kick off show of the tour in the regional city of Geelong the night prior.
The Cool Calm Collective leads off as the night’s local support. Definitely a smooth way to start and matches the feel for what’s to come perfectly. With this only being the band’s second show ever (the first being in Geelong the night prior), it was hard to tell as they looked like they have been playing live for a good few years. Having only formed this year, they have already gathered a good fanbase and are definitely giving themselves a name in the local blues and roots scene. Even though not a genre I myself listen to much, I found myself easily brought into the groove and feel they offered. The blues fusion of reggae beats was an excellent choice to begin the night.
Folk-rock artist William Crighton released his debut self-titled album just last year and has since released a follow up in March 2017, Hope Recovery, a digital and vinyl release. Touring with Dan Sultan nationally as his main support, there was definitely excitement to see him live.
Much more ingrained into the folk-rock genre, it was a slower pace than the starting act. With lyrics throughout his songs capturing the Australian regional culture, it was easy to connect with what was being said. Being a very humble artist, Crighton wanted to make sure he was as much with the crowd as the crowd was with him, telling tales along the way and giving his time on stage a narrative in a sort of way. A cabling problem near the start of his set didn’t stop him from singing away and playing his acoustic until a new lead was plugged into his guitar, joking along “if everyone is quiet, you might just hear it.”
There were bizarre sections though with Crighton walking away from the mic and continuing to sing which, unless you were at the very front, was hard to hear for the rest. As bizarre as it was though, everyone was loving it, even clapping to keep the beat during the closing vocal solo.
Dan Sultan came onto the stage with a huge roar from the crowd. Standing front centre, the people on the floor of the Forum pushed closer to get a better view of Sultan. Meanwhile people up in the back rows already started to move around and enjoy themselves.
I’m just going to say this now to get it out of the way. The production of Sultan’s set was immaculate. The lighting framed Sultan and his backing band perfectly and the acoustics of the Forum made it so no matter where you were, you felt up close and personal. This was particularly easy to tell with the title track off the new album Killer.
When 2013 single ‘Under your Skin’ started up, the crowd was chanting the start and was completely into the groove. It was definitely a crowd favourite and much loved by everyone there.
It was quite easy to see that the new album was loved by those in attendance. New track ‘Hold it Together’ had the crowd in Sultan’s hands with nearly everyone clapping along and singing the chorus back to him. ‘Easier Man’ definitely slowed things down though and showed the softer side of his music.
It was constant good vibes throughout the night with the upbeat blues and roots bringing out the best in everyone. A lot of dancing, a lot of singing and a lot of laughter with no hassles from anyone else around and this was easy to see when he decided to bring out the decade old first song off his first album ‘Your Love is Like a Song.’ The fans from day one were absolutely loving it and taking in every moment. With an extended instrumental thrown into the end, it was a moment to close your eyes and just soak in the music.
A pleasant surprise for the night, though, was a song that didn’t make it onto Killer and it’s hard to see why it was left off. It definitely suited the feel of the album and is a fun, slightly harder sound. Maybe it will be released as an off album single down the line? We won’t know. It was definitely a pleasure listening to it though.
Once new hit single ‘Kingdom’ began, the fans, new and old, were very happy. Jumping straight into clapping to the beat throughout the first verse and singing along, this song obviously hasn’t just been seen as a commercial hit but an instant classic with the fans.
Closing the set with ‘Reaction,’ yet again a single from the new album, the crowd were happy yet some of the older fans were scratching their heads as to why they decided to close on such a new song. Thankfully the encore just so happened to be 2014’s “Dirty Ground” with Sultan performing solo without the band and yet with one last song up their sleeve, the night finishes on the classic ‘Old Fitzroy’ which made the night complete for all and finished on a high note.