November 21, 2016

By Morgan Berna

It was another sold out show for A Tribe Called Red in Kelowna last Wednesday, and the energy at Sapphire was buzzing. Made up of 2oolman, DJ NDN and Bear Witness, A Tribe Called Red is a 3-piece DJ act that combines traditional and modern music styles and dance.

Their sound is difficult to describe. It’s a mix of electronica, hip-hop, dubstep and traditional First Nation's music. Some have even given their music it's own genre, powwow-step. Their name is a nod to A Tribe Called Quest, and they heavily sample their songs. The drumming and traditional First Nation's music mix in with the modern hip-hop and electronica scene, creates a sound that's mesmerizing. It's something completely unique, yet somehow feels like it fits together perfectly.

People at the Kelowna show came from all over; from Alberta and the BC coast, to tourists in from the States. It was a diverse crowd, but incredibly supportive and friendly - not your typical club scene. People went out of their way to help you see the show better despite the crowded venue, and First Nations attendees were happily sharing stories of their respective cultures with new friends. It just felt positive. 

A Tribe Called Red opened their set sampling Kanye's Stronger and the audience was immediately moving. In fact, A Tribe Called Red didn’t miss one beat, keeping everyone moving from beginning to end. It might have just been one of the only shows I've been to that didn't have a lineup at the bathroom. 

Not only was the sound great, but they put on a fantastic show. Dancers came out frequently in traditional costumes to do dances of fused-styles and hype the crowd. Every time a dancer came out, you’d know from the energy that radiated from the crowd.

I can honestly say I’ve never seen DJs that were able to make everyone dance beginning to end, and be unwilling to take a break. These guys managed it. If A Tribe Called Red is coming to your city soon, I'll be the first to tell you to go. You can find their touring schedule here