What a beautiful soul. Of course, I am talking about Tuka, a Sydney based hip-hop producer and rapper, who played a concert at the Howler in Brunswick, Melbourne on Saturday night. It was amazing.

Howler is a really amazing venue in Dawson Street in Brunswick. The entrance opens up from a public car park into the architectural heaven of wooden surfaces, high ceilings, an indoor garden, and beautiful lights. If you continue through the bar, the band room at the back is where they put on their gigs.

light sculptures and architecture at the howler in brunswick

I was so lucky because there were still a couple of tickets left on the door. The band room was nicely filled when I arrived, and there was a certain anticipation in the air. Semi-circular booths at the back of the room overflowed with partygoers, and I chatted with a couple of friendly punters on the floor.

In time, the lights went down, the band found their places and the gig began. Tuka set the scene for the community and camaraderie in the room pretty quickly. He jumped off the stage and brought his microphone into the crowd for a group hug – nice! Then, he sang an acapella song to a member of the audience who was having a hard time. It was such an amazing feat of connection, and I knew then, what I know now. Tuka is an amazing person.

tuka selling me out tour - crowd surfing

I loved Isolated Nation’s review of Tuka’s gig in Perth and agreed with the fact that perhaps everyone fell a little bit in love during one of Tuka’s gigs. It is not too hard to feel connected to a person who gives so much energy, and connects so sincerely with his audience.

His set contained some of his most popular songs such as Tattoo, Fuck You Pay Me, Die a Happy Man and my favourite Selling Me Out, as well as one or two of his favourites, a couple of Thundamentals songs and a cover. It was so great to take his new tunes for a spin on the dance floor. Selling Me Out is musical genius. It has a kind of salsa beat and it is easy to kind of lose it when followed up with the wildly popular Die a Happy Man.

Tuka at the Howler – Image credit – Marcus Coblyn

Tuka ended the night on a punter’s shoulders walking through the crowd and a rendition of Big Jet Plane. It was an intensely enjoyable musical experience and a gorgeous connection with a very switched on guy.

The backstory is that Tuka has been away from his solo music for a number of years. His posts suggest that he has decided to engage in sobriety, and the catch calls that were prevalent in an earlier Thundamentals gig (‘smoke weed everyday’), are no longer a defining part of the show (except in their absence). He said that he was completely sober last night, and while some people in the crowd didn’t believe him, I think it is HATS OFF to the guy. What an achievement!

tuka - credit from facebook
Tuka – Image credit – @willrap4tuka

This transition is so clear in the way that Tuka builds a connection with the crowd and the way that for that hour or so, he let us see a little part of his heart.

Tuka (not Tooker), has been on heavy rotation on my tunes since Selling Me Out dropped and he posted to say that he was still clean. I am so looking forward to hearing new music and to staying up to date with the journey of this amazing artist. What an amazing gig/artist/musician/person!

You can hear Selling Me Out on Spotify here. His website is here. And you find Tuka’s random acts of kindness and hilarious love of animals on his Catsquad_meow Instagram.