Review | Tash Hills at The Edge of The Wedge, Southsea: 'Funky as hell'
Squeezing eight people plus instruments onto the stage in The Edge of The Wedge is no mean feat in itself.
It actually took this reviewer a couple of songs to work out there was a keys player tucked away behind the three-piece brass section...
Fortunately being really good at fitting lots of folks on a small stage is not the sum total of Tash Hills and her band’s achievements – far from it.
Tash Alladin already fronts several covers-led outfits – Mama Funk and Mix-Tape to name a couple – but this is her passion project, an act focusing on original material with a healthy dose of soul and funk.
The act was put together by Tash and her partner Ashley Hills, who is also the band’s drummer and musical director, during lockdown.
This is finally the band’s live debut, and it’s in front of a sold out Edge crowd.
The sense of relief is palpable from the start – as Tash herself says, this has been ‘the best part of a couple of years in the making’.
But it has been worth the wait.
The original material is funky as hell – slick, but with just enough grit thrown in. Some of this stuff wouldn’t have sounded out of place in Acid Jazz’s ’90s heyday.
And there’s some serious ’70s Stevie Wonder-style keys getting thrown down in the mix.
While her bandmates mostly stand head and shoulder above Tash, it’s definitely her running the show.
When they do play covers, Tash is almost apologetic, but it’s early days for the band, and so far they’ve only released a clutch of singles.
But the covers they do play are well-judged party-starters. And their take on Sly and The Family Stone’s If You Want Me To Stay is astonishing – becoming an extended workout where all of the band get a solo.
Mirrorball Dreams, co-written with another local talent, Samuel Pack, is one destined to pack out the disco dancefloor.
By the time they finish Tash has given shout outs to everyone from her producer to her hairdresser (it is an impressive quiff, to give it its due).
There’s going to be a lot more to come from Tash and her supremely talented crew.
A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron
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