Nahko And Medicine For The People, Nattalie Rize stellar at Mission Ballroom, even if not a sellout crowd

Published on: November 15th, 2019
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Nahko and Medicine for the People came through Denver on November 9th, with opening support from Nattali Rize. The crowd looked to be about 85 percent full, according to estimates from our colleague, putting crowd estimates at near 3,400. A crisp night, necessitating the use of coat check and stiff drinks on site, Nahko and Rize showed up to adoring fans ready to celebrate whatever was delivered. Deliver, they did.
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Rize, who we have interviewed before, is one of our favorite reggae artists, a powerful lyricist with a lively stage show, ready at any moment to alternatively hype the crowd up or inspire with positivity, passion, and poignant remarks. Lyrical content includes references to Barack Obama’s failures as president and ways to bring all the world’s people together in opposition by the oppression of the powers-that-be. She also has a few reggae love songs. With a mother who was in the housing rights struggle for Aboriginal people in Australia, and now based in Jamaica, Rize is making quite a name for herself and, if I’m so bold, was the absolute showstopper at this event. My colleague and I remarked at the close of her set that, should all else fail or should we have to leave early for any reason, we definitely got our money’s worth with the Rize performance.
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Thankfully, that wasn’t the case.
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Nahko and Medicine for the People came on stage to raucous applause, to a crowd primed for just this sort of communal, positive, world music. Drink, dance, and drug use commenced in full force as Nahko Bear, frontman, ran through a bevy of greatest hits and a few of this newest drops from the Take Your Power Back album, including Lifeguard. The tour boasts the same name: Take Your Power Back..
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The band – Justin Chittams (drums), Chase Makai (lead guitarist), Patricio Zuñiga Labarca (bass guitar), Max Ribner (flugelhorn), Tim Snider (electric violin), and Justin Chittams (drums) – with extra accompaniment, provided the medicine that only they can with stellar interplay, autonomy, and moments of improv.
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In excellent news, we were just informed anonymously that Nahko agreed – this same night at the Mission Ballroom – to headline Ignite Entertainment’s newest music event, Thrive Festival, taking place on Hawaii’s Big Island in February. That’s not yet listed on his official website tour itinerary, so we’re guessing it’s not official. Keep your eyes peeled for that and do let me know if you have the hookup on flights.
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We left the Nahko show early, before the crowds rushed out, with hopes of reaching Ophelia’s to catch the end of the Brothers of Bass and the Pink Hawks show. We caught the tail end of that and literally can’t regret leaving Nahko early. The Pink Hawks are tearing it up and doing an amazing job. Please do check them out when you have a chance.
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Enjoy these photos from the Nahko show. All images by De La Vaca.
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