NUTRIBE are an amorphous fire when they burn. When Stickydub, Yloh and Doopsman move and twist their bodies, sparks shoot from their elbows and fingertips and over the meagre bars separating the crowd and the doorstep-stage. The middle crowd is engulfed by the energy fanned from the front, spreading to the back the whole audience catches light and the arms, heads, shoulders or hips of the room are all rocking steady.
But Nutribe would be the first to admit the above isn’t achieved on their efforts alone. RUFU is a calculated opener who raises temperature, sidling the stage as he tells us just how “fine” we’re looking (spelt with four Is) before slipping into signature I’ll Be Me. New material alongside Ru 4 Real gets an unforeseen intensity as Ru mounts the bars and falls into a gaze somewhere beyond the crowd; halfway through his set declaring “Everything we’re facing right now we can get through if we learn to love, yeah?” Only his second show, Rufu leaves with one final song and a sincere thank you, but not before he’s spread his smile, positivity and optimism on a captivated audience he and his DJ, Rameau Smith, have turned.
Breaking up, we pocket two cans of Red Stripe in order to keep our spots; other heads nip outside to pump smoke.
Carrying a large, water bottle Nu Tribe hop on the stage like they’ve been invited up from the audience; representatives of a fruitful energy we’ve come to sit with tonight- “fruitful” the operative word as mangoes are cast into the audience intermittently throughout the show. If the lyrics are sometimes lost underneath the cross-pollinated beats, at least Nu Tribe remember to stay skittish in between: “Nu for nutrition, yeh”
Taking position, they step out, divulging: “How many of you have been to a Nu Tribe show before? Ok, ok so those that have yeh I want you to welcome those that haven’t so shout with us: “BIG LOVE”. Shouts of “BIG LOVE” echo through the crowd. And again and again and again.
The first show back at Kitchen St. and Nu Tribe know their audience will work with them from the off. Anyone vaguely familiar with even one song knows how relaxed and free they like to be as demonstrated on Sittin’ On Me Step. The repeated “nu” sounds at the start are the nucleuses that any other words can orbit around to kick the groove. Movement is the goal (definitely the reason why the bass is head rattling-ly heavy) and nothing they’re short on either. That their hip swaying is in total synch is no surprise as former dance students. Where they succeed most is in embodying the beat and expressing it outwardly. In their bodies, beats and bars, that’s their intricacy, their art.
Keeping on, the zeal flows between them, only together are they so strong. Yloh and Doopsman bounce back to back and flash smiles, heads pulled back, as Stickydub smokes and Bludmoon carries us out with as enthusiastic spot marching as one can manage without knocking a drink out of someone’s hand. motion like the flames of a fire pit flickering together, jumping on the rails, hanging back and returning on the beat, they tag in ’n’ out like Jurassic 5 and cavort like lemurs, teasing each member to the front for his share of the light.
Nutribe elevate, encourage you to elevate yourself and others, and that kind of positivity and honesty is the welcome back to live music both us and they needed.