By Rob Crozier
December 3, 2013
A dreary midweek night looms as we make our way to one of Brighton’s best kept secret venues, the Blind Tiger. Unfortunately it seems that it’s such a secret that a rather disappointing sparse crowd greet us for the arrival of A Tribe Called Red.
The Canadian three piece is here to serve up a diet of big hip-hop and dubstep beats. They work with no instruments, their whole sound is produced live via turntables, mixers and loops. Fairly normal up to now, until we realise that they use Native American chants and samples alongside amazing visual projection to deliver a multimedia stomp, their music touching on a few current issues surrounding gang culture and criminality via their use of speeches and sampled voices.
There sound is defiantly unique, labelled as Electronic Pow Wow or Pow Wow Step, as it looks to represent the music of Native Americans or First Nation peoples. Whatever it’s called, they have a clear ability to utilise old traditional music in the form of native drumming and explore this in a new and exciting form. The group are aiming to raise awareness and their music carries a clear political message, however this is delivered with such an infectious beat that it’s meaning and impact is sometimes lost.
The small crowd do their best to create some sort of atmosphere, and every one of us is at the front leaping around like loons. There are some serious shapes being thrown, some even in time to the music. The Tribe have a huge array of gadgets, as the three of them combine to create huge pounding rhythms. Over from Canada, this is their first UK date since they were the darlings of the Great Escape festival back in May. Since then they’ve released a new album, Nation ii Nation and are out to promote this, bombarding us with tracks from their latest offering.
Their DJ skills are illustrated by the open mouths amongst the crowd who clearly know a turntablist gem when they see one. Add this to sheer enjoyment the boys are having and you start to feel that this sound, and their appearance, could project them into a wider audience. If they can transport the live energy in to a studio album, then their future, and message, look very bright indeed.