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SLCR #198: A Tribe Called Red (February 18, 2014)

“Who do you think we’re going to see more of tonight, Native people or hipsters?”

“Are there Native hipsters?”

I assumed there had to be, but having never seen any, I didn’t really know. I can now tell you that they exist and are plentiful.

I went into this evening not knowing much of anything, if we’re being honest. A Tribe Called Red combines dance/techno with traditional Native music, and I really liked the few songs I’d heard via some combination of Mika and CBC Radio 3. Their most recent album, Nation II Nation, was short-listed for the 2013 Polaris Music Prize, and given that I already liked a few songs, you’d think that I would track it down and give it a proper listen. Unless you know me, I mean.

This show took place on a Tuesday evening, which – if you’re not familiar with Tuesdays – means it was a weeknight. Needless to say, this is where I segue from the “I didn’t listen to much of the band’s music before the show” trope to the ever-popular “we were tired and didn’t really feel like going.” Someday, I will be able to write one of these things by doing nothing but copying and pasting full sentences from reviews that came before it. At that point, I can retire from review writing.

I had bought my tickets online months before this show, but didn’t get around to picking them up until the morning of. I didn’t actually look at them, so it was a bit of a surprise when we were getting ready to leave the house and I found someone else’s ticket packed in with ours. I handed the extra in when we got to the show and the girl taking the tickets said “ohh, THAT explains it.” I do not know what it explained. I suspect it was maybe something not good.

When we walked into the Exchange, there was a DJ playing songs and nobody seemed to be paying him too much attention. Everyone was getting drinks and finding optimal places to stand. This didn’t last too long – the Regina Folk Festival concert series shows adhere pretty strongly to their scheduled times – before the CBC’s newest meteorologist came out to start the show. Have I written that before? Because it seems like every time I go to something at the Exchange, the show is started by a new CBC meteorologist. It’s their thing. I don’t know how this talent exchange has come to pass and, for that matter, I don’t know why they never actually tell us what the weather is. Can news anchors and sports guys not convincingly claim that they’re excited for a concert? At least this one actually said “meteorologist” and not “weather specialist.”

The band took the stage and the dance floor filled up, and… yeah, there really wasn’t all that much to see. Mostly it was three guys on laptops. At a few points, a dancer joined them on stage for some hoop dance-inspired breakdancing (or breakdance-inspired hoop dancing?). This was entertaining and a fun supplement to the show. Or really, from a visual standpoint, it WAS the show.

The thing about dance music – apart from my limited tolerance for it, due in part to my disinterest in actually dancing – is that it’s often pretty much indistinguishable from someone pressing play on Winamp. I’m sure they were doing… stuff, but I wouldn’t know what. And if I was there to dance, I likely wouldn’t care. But I wasn’t, so, y’know.

I mean, I can’t tell someone who’s really good at guitar from someone who’d just noodling around, but even someone who’s noodling gives me something to watch, you know?

So yeah. The music was good for what it was, but I have a low ceiling for dance music and we didn’t stay all the way until the end. Maybe it would be more your thing?

I don’t think I have much else to say, really. I’m basing this on the fact that everything above this paragraph has been written out in a text file for three weeks, waiting for me to come back and tack on an ending. Also, I just opened this text file to write this ending, but decided that trimming my toenails was a more urgent task. I mean, yeah, my toes were in rough shape, but we’re still weeks away from sandal season here.

• Mounties w/Rich Aucoin & JPNS GRLS (Friday, March 28)
• Bastille w/To Kill a King (Friday, April 4)
• Ben Folds & Edmonton Symphony Orchestra (Wednesday, May 21)
• Regina Folk Festival (Friday, August 8 to Sunday, August 10)
• Gordon Lightfoot (Friday, November 7)

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