Aussies Take Over the Fox Theater in Oakland

in SF Concert Reviews by

The Aussies landed on American soil last night and sent over two of their most promising musical acts. Tash Sultana, a 23-year-old multi-instrumentalist that’s been the talk of the town ever since her epic performance at this year’s Outside Lands. And tagging along for the ride, a groovy group of long-haired musicians that describe their sound as psych-surf.

To be honest, I’d have a hard time describing the sound of Ocean Alley. At times they sound Reggae with their laid-back sound and soothing melodies, but then the band switches things up and pull out some heavy riffs reminiscent of Sabbath or Zeppelin. They surprised us yet again midway into the set by busting out a cover of Player’s “Baby Come Back,” which actually sounded as if they could have written it. The 5-piece originally hail from Sydney’s Northern Beaches, and recently released a second album Chiaroscuro, which debuted at #15 on the ARIA Chart. It’s an impressive feat and one that deserves recognition, and considering the audience response yesterday, the future is looking bright for this group of talented Kiwis.

Tash Sultana was the headliner for the evening, and if you haven’t heard of her by this point you must be living under a rock. The 23-year-old multi-instrumentalist and singer is from Melbourne, Australia, started playing the guitar at the age of three and has since taught herself to play more than 15 other instruments. Most were on display on the gorgeous stage of Fox theater. They encircled her onstage as she took everyone on a musical journey that had them mesmerized from beginning to end. Just how she could possibly be playing all these instruments at once must’ve been the thought on everyone’s mind.

It’s good to see Australia making a name for itself on the musical map, and it begs the question: How many more of these gems is the country down under keeping from us? Tash Sultana and Ocean Alley are two names that are sure to make their way into living rooms everywhere. Does this recent wave have the makings of an Australian Invasion?

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Having released albums under Digital Nations, a label founded by Steve Vai, music critic Louis Raphael has remained deeply connected to the pulse of the San Francisco music scene. Following his tenure as the San Francisco Music Examiner for and, he embarked on creating Music in SF® to authentically highlight the vibrant offerings of the city's music scene.

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