A Tribe Called Red Dominate First Weekend of Sask Jazz Fest 2013: Review, Photo Essay

Saskatoon Festival continues throughout June 21 – July 1

A Tribe Called Red

A Tribe Called Red bring on the Electric Pow Wow

A Tribe Called Red are currently one of the most important music movements in Canada. They are also literally some of the best DJs in the country – DJ Shub won the Red Bull Thre3Style National Title in 2012. And on Sunday night, the trio literally shook the entirety of Amigos.

Stylized as “Pow Wow step”, A Tribe Called Red incorporate Aboriginal elements and motifs throughout their beats – traditional drumming perforates their music along with live scratching before everything drops into something typically clubby. It’s perfect for those who want to dance, but there is a strange power in their performance. Similarly, it’s a beat that reverberates with a growing audience – the group has been added to the Polaris Prize long list for two consecutive years.

Club music is rarely this strikingly original, and A Tribe Called Red are on their way to empowering a nation, one dance floor at a time.

-Special Thanks to Arlin Schaffel for the GIF!


We Were Lovers, Data Romance and Metric bring the dance party

The first time Metric played in Saskatoon was at Louis’ back in 2003, when they opened for Hot Hot Heat and The Unicorns. Relatively unknown, the four-piece blew everyone else off the stage – and that’s saying a lot considering the other bands. Since then, Metric has grown into one of Can-rock’s most ambitious “indie” bands, never again to be seen on a small stage. And while their show is far more dialed in and less spontaneous – the backing tracks pumping through the PA during their set at the Sask Jazz Festival was mildly distracting – the group consistently puts out a danceable set filled with Emily Haines-centric hits. The material was definitely heavy on the newer albums, but I suppose that’s what happens when you become so succexy.

Data Romance
We Were Lovers

Data Romance, on the other hand, were technically competent but their music was a bit too chill and down-tempo for an audience that looks for any excuse to dance under the Bess. Having seen the electro duo perform at Amigos before, it seemed strange that they were far more reserved in front of a much larger audience.

Openers We Were Lovers sounded absolutely grandiose on the main stage. Here’s hoping they get more opportunities to play to more Saskatonians who don’t typically venture into the city’s indie scene.

Lee Fields and the Expressions

Lee Fields and the Expressions take over Amigos

While it is absolutely undeniable that Lee Fields’ talent and performance prowess should not be confined to a smaller club, especially given the main stage events of the Sask Jazz Festival, it was amazing to see the soul singer in a smaller club. Amigos Cantina hosted Fields and the Expressions for the entire duration of the weekend. And it was a thing of beauty. The club was packed. The horn section was smoking. And even the walls were torrid to the touch. Wish we had gotten a decent photo.

Ziggy Marley
Ziggy Marley

Sunday sees The Steadies, Delhi 2 Dublin and Ziggy Marley

Ziggy Marley is a huge name for the Sask Jazz Festival – it seemed like half of Saskatoon had shown up for the Sunday night reggae fest and then some. Despite the encroaching much at the front of the stage, Marley brought in a massive throng who danced and soaked up every beat. It was semi-hilarious to watch the security attempt to clamp down on the assortment of wacky puffs of smoke that seemed to emanate from the crowd.

Dehli 2 Dublin

Delhi 2 Dublin similarly impressed, playing an eclectic blend of internationally varied traditional sounds along with bass-heavy dance beats. The group has played in Saskatoon several times before, but it seemed as though their appearance at the festival served as an introduction to many in the audience.

Wish we had seen The Steadies, a local reggae and roots group that consistently puts on a good performance. Next time.