Published Sep 01, 2017Way the hell up north in rural Quebec, A Tribe Called Red made themselves right at home in Rouyn-Noranda. Introducing their set with a clip of John Trudell's spoken contributions to We Are the Halluci Nation, the trio of DJs found their way to their stations along a table at the back of FME's open-air stage and made short work rallying the crowd into a frenzy. Looping the hook from Kanye West's "Stronger" into a resilient mantra and tethering it to a pounding kick, Tribe set the tone and proceeded to unload a powerful display of resistance coloured by influences from all around the world.
We Are the Halluci Nation found the group augmenting their signature "powwow step" with a broader community of collaborators to signal a globally united, decolonial resistance. Without any of those collaborators on hand at FME, Tribe smartly opted to roll out album cuts in seamlessly mashed up fragments, creating space in their set for righteous moombahton and reggae grooves while elsewhere shouting out indigenous communities as far as Australia and building beats out of didgeridoo, while still allowing heavy hitters like Yaasin Bey/Narcy/Black Bear collaboration point "R.E.D." and Tanya Tagaq's feature on "SILA" plenty of room to breathe.
All of this played out in front of a vibrant series of animations and found footage, periodically calling dancers onstage to lend the set some more dynamic physicality. Everybody felt seen, heard and represented, evinced by a crowd that responded in kind, locked into a groove. And here, every bounce, step and crowdsurfer was a mark against the colonial guard.