ATCR Electrifies CSU Orientation Concert

A Tribe Called Red rocked the Corona Theatre at the Concordia Student Union’s annual orientation concert Friday.

Fans thronged the stage screaming when the Ottawa-based Aboriginal trio came on, hoping to catch a good glimpse of DJs NDN, Bear Witness and Shub. Their sound is a blend of hip hop, dancehall and electronica steeped in First Nations music, which they dub “electronic pow wow.”

“This is, like, my fifth time seeing Tribe,” said Egan, a tall woman sporting red lipstick, curly locks and a contagious laugh. “And every time I’m just so happy that, like, they are successful and are bringing indigenous music to the forefront.”

The Concordia Student Union organized the orientation concert to help undergraduates let off some steam after the semester’s first two weeks.

The show almost didn’t take place. During the set of the first opening act, Miracle Fortress, a fire alarm went off, forcing the crowd—beer cups in hand—into the streets.

But firefighters soon showed up to investigate and, shortly thereafter, the concert resumed.

Still, the fans grew impatient. Most lurked around the bar during the rest of Miracle Fortress’ performance while others downright clamored for second act Suuns to pack up their instruments.

However, when the headliners took the stage, Corona Theatre was jam-packed with a fresh wave of youths, heads cocked towards the main event.

Tribe played their most popular tracks including “Electric Pow Wow Drum,” “Indians From All Directions” and “Look At This.”

“A Tribe Called Red gig is my happy place,” said Michaela Black, a short girl who shook her mane of blond and purple streaks to a trance for most of the show. “I love being here. The crowd had so much energy that you don’t see anywhere else.”

Their show included a breakdancing, hoop-twirling native tribal performer. Scratching their turntables, the DJs faced the whooping crowd while a video ran in a loop, displaying pop images of Aboriginal people in the psychedelic colors of an acid trip.

CSU President Benjamin Prunty was in attendance.

“I thought it was a good turnout,” he said. “The hands were really flying in the air.”

Socio-political activism imbues Tribe’s music. They interlace their sound with cultural references to the plight of the Aboriginal peoples of Turtle Island. This included an excerpt from native comic stand-up Ryan McMahon’s show.

Meanwhile, the crowd grooved to a rhythmic hypnosis.

Tribe played a quick encore at the end of the orientation concert. And when the lights went up, the fans clapped and sighed all at once.

The Socio-Political Analysis of a SUUNS Concert »

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