In an age where genres are starting to disappear and artists are embracing this new free form style Nubiyan Twist are one of the most significant groups leading the charge.
Nubiyan Twist began their incendiary set at the Spiegeltent last night with a five-minute instrumental that seemed to be them reassuring the audience, as if they were saying “don’t worry, we’ve got this”. The afrobeat/ hip hop/ jazz collective were a tight unit and all the characters played their parts with the shades-wearing keys-man maintaining an unflinching stony expression, whilst the drummer was lost in music.
The whole band were clearly enjoying every second on stage and their passion flowed off the stage and through the audience filling the whole marquee with pure energy. New lead singer Cherise Adams-Burnett conducted herself with swagger and attitude whilst performing but the whole evening was underpinned with a feeling of hope.
Like any headline act there are certain songs the audience expects to hear/ demands in some cases and Nubiyan Twist weren’t about to let anyone down. The band played old favourites, slightly rejigged for a live show, and the big hits from their new record Jungle Run. Once the crowd were fully onside, which didn’t take long, it was time to for new material to be sprung on the audience.
The new tracks had to be the highlight of the evening. When Cherise told the crowd that the band had 5 new songs she asked: “you wanna hear them?” and the rhetorical question was answered with a furore of enthusiasm from the very excitable audience.
My personal favourite was Green And Gold, a new song dedicated to the Windrush generation. The track was defiantly introduced with the words “Black and British, both!” and had the contemporary sound of the new free form style but was imbued with the rich history of those who were being honoured. At the cry of “Big up Jamaica!” the beat dropped and the crowd went full Mark Corrigan at Rainbow Rhythms.
Meanwhile, Cherise was throwing herself around the stage seemingly channelling the energy of every person in the place all at the same time. The floor of the Spiegeltent was literally bouncing as the old-style dance floor sprung under stomping feet.
At the end of the show the band were of course summoned back for an encore, an eventuality that was never in doubt from the moment they took to the stage. The band played one last song and Cherise expressed her love for “one of the most energetic crowds” they had performed to, bringing one of the most life affirming gigs that I have ever attended, to a beautiful end.
By Owen Garner