A Tribe Called Red: Live at Evolve Festival [Review]
Antigonish, NS – Bursting forth from Canada’s Capital, native Producer and DJ crew A Tribe Called Red has been making an impact on the global electronic scene with a truly unique sound. Bringing their Electric Pow Wow parties across our great nation and beyond, ATCR recently performed at the Mad Decent Block Party in Toronto, and Osheaga in Montreal. They also made some time to show love in the East, performing at both the Halifax Jazz Festival, and Evolve Festival in July, and proved to their fans just how well they can put it down live.
A Tribe Called Red took the stage at 9:30 p.m. A simple drum beat began the set, with pow wow vocals sliding in over top and increasing in volume. The music then stopped. DJ Shub welcomed the crowd, “What’s up Evolve? How y’all doin’? We are A Tribe Called Red from Ottawa, and if y’all are ready to party, make some noise!” The crowd cheered as the drums emerged once again with DJ Bear Witness, DJ NDN and DJ Shub scratching over a sample of a deep voice repeating “Tribe Called Red,” as more chants emerged into the music.
The party continued with heavy drums, and vocals that got everyone moving. Multiple hip-hop, dance hall, and reggae samples fit perfectly into this ATCR created sound throughout the night. The group seemed to use many recognizable, yet not entirely mainstream samples. This enabled them to put forth a specific vibe that was their own and not reminiscent of a remix by any means, while sometimes throwing in small odes to popular culture, using samples such as Kanye West’s “Stronger,” while constantly upholding to their musical foundation that is the Electric Pow Wow.
There was a definite beauty in the mutual appreciation and simple enjoyment of the music, combined with a certain feeling of excitement to many as the unknown pow wow vocals continued to move and shake the audience in a very organic way. An eye-opening performance, ATCR’s execution of the Electric Pow Wow is an experience that is not only danceable, but visually unforgettable. With dancers bringing the traditional music elements to life, and thought provoking, stimulating visuals created by DJ Bear Witness (which you can view here), blessing the three massive screens across the stage, it was difficult to not become entranced by this set.
It isn’t hard to see there has been a notable indigenous-electronic revolution taking place around the world. With constant incorporation of cultural music into contemporary hip-hop, club, and electronic music becoming more popular, ATCR are most definitely Canada’s pioneers when it comes to truly representing life as Urban Aboriginals through their music and art, while continuously paying homage and incorporating the knowledge and traditions of their beloved cultural backgrounds.
This two-time polaris long list trio, with their debut album listed by CBC’s as one of the “Greatest Canadian Albums Ever,” is surely bridging the gap between traditional First Nations culture and music. Known as key players in what has been referred to as a Native Youth Renaissance, ATCR’s music has been referred to as the soundtrack to a contemporary evolution of the pow wow. Championing their heritage and speaking out on aboriginal issues, while making their mark in both popular music and art, they are surely at the forefront of an electronic movement.
Written by Nicole Curry for HipHopCanada
Photography by Chris Smith
Photography by Chris Smith