Review by Darren Gawle
Photography by Rodney Gitzel
Maybe if the mix were a bit better we'd understand what Nick's on about without calling his mental health into question. As it is, though, there's plenty to digest both on and off stage. Drummer Matt Belbin re-creates the look of classic Stephen Morris while staying on the beat more reliably than the drum machine Fryer Tuck's also using. Nick (in full parking attendant uniform) raps, samples the Great White North theme and invites the audience to play a little foil ball, the rules of which appear to be:
"Fryer Tuck's got the extinguishers, but we've got the fire!"
Thus Jacob Cino throws down the gauntlet halfway through Third Eye Tribe's set, as a fire-eater plies his trade in front of the stage. The beauty of having a 'project' as opposed to a 'band' is the ability to add to your lineup as you see fit, but the impression that I get is that even Cino had no idea the show was going to wind up this way.
Third Eye Tribe may not be what John Lennon had in mind when he sang "Turn off your mind, relax, and float downstream," but it's an apt piece of advice. Just close your eyes and listen as Cino conducts the vibes from dub through jungle to tense (but not confrontational) moments of hip-hop and ragga -- featuring the talents of G.K. the Tripmaster, the other visual focal point of Third Eye Tribe's live show. Cino may cover a deceptively wide amount of musical ground, but he never lets the sound stray so far that it sounds like a different unit altogether.
Sometimes Cino plays bass, sometimes he doesn't; sometimes G.K. raps, sometimes he doesn't. Tonight we don't get Kinnie Starr or a didgeridoo, but we do get a guest percussionist on djembe and drums. Third Eye Tribe stays about as fresh as you can get, by virtue of being the musical equivalent of a Moroccan public market (everything and the kitchen sink). And although it takes until the end of the set, a few souls from the mostly-empty house do venture out onto the floor to groove openly to Third Eye Tribe's more electronic tracks.
And this is ultimately what should keep you coming back to see Jacob Cino's baby again and again: even though a good band may get redundant through your familiarity with them, with Third Eye Tribe you're never guaranteed to get exactly the same thing twice. That Cino also displays a level of artistry to hold your attention regardless of the amount of visual stimulation on stage makes Third Eye Tribe one of the select few local acts that may well end up representing Vancouver on an international level. They're really among the best we've got.
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