By Timothy Nguyen
March 10th, 2018.
VANCOUVER – Whether or not it’s your first time at A Tribe Called Red show or your fifth, you’ll find yourself in a sea of ravers, dancers and head-bobbers – covered in sweat of others or your own.
Described as “pow-wow-step”, the First Nations electronic group played the first of two back-to-back, nearly sold out shows. Despite Ian “DJ NDN” Campeau departing in October, 2017 for health reasons, Tim “2oolman” Hill and Ehren “Bear Witness” Thomas kept the crowd off their feet effortlessly from start to finish over the course of a mesmerizing 90-minute set.
Transcending traditional genres of music, ATCR is out of the ordinary, as they aren’t necessarily one type of dance music. Bridging and blending genres such as hip hop, reggae and dubstep with traditional First Nations vocal chanting and drumming has led to them blowing up into the biggest First Nations group out of Canada, netting the group multiple Juno nominations.
From the first drop, the audience was exposed to a sensory overload: from breakdancing cameos by breakdancers Matthew Creeasian and Angela Gladue in full regalia to a video loop of indigenous imagery and the instances of cultural appropriation in pop culture over the ages – ideas both divisive and inclusive.
ATCR are constantly blending the ideas of traditional and contemporary of the political, social and artistic spheres. Despite writing music as indigenous people for (predominantly) indigenous people, the crowd came from a plethora of different generations, cultures and creeds. Unity has always been a staple of ATCR and tonight was no different.A Tribe Called Red, Commodore Ballroom