REVIEW // Nubiyan Twist make a strong case for best gig of 2019

10-piece future jazz/ afro-dub group Nubiyan Twist brought their new album to Trinity Centre via Colston Hall Presents 

Nubiyan Twist for Nitelife magazine by Ania Shrimpton

A rainy evening in England, nothing new. A sell-out Colston Hall Presents show at Bristol’s iconic church-turned-music-venue Trinity Centre, nothing new. Self-categorised future jazz/ afro-dub group Nubiyan Twist touring for their new album Jungle Run – something new.

the afrobeat horns were never far from earshot, nor was the jazzy glue holding it all together

This March, the 10-piece group set Bristol alight on the second leg of their tour, delivering a masterpiece show and musical performance in the same breath. Throughout the set, the afrobeat horns were never far from earshot, nor was the jazzy glue holding it all together, however what really set Nubiyan Twist apart from other bands in this newly emerging sonic space is enchanting front-woman Nubiya Brandon. 

Nubiyan Twist for Nitelife magazine by Ania Shrimpton

From the second track, Nubiya’s performance seemed effortless at centre stage, acting as singer, MC and, at times, conductor of nine other talented musicians. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that the rest of the band don’t deserve a big, fat standing ovation, and Nubiya wasn’t the only member of the group to grace the microphone either, but her command of a crowd is unparalleled.

The mood swayed between knee raising glee to idle encapsulation

The mood swayed between knee raising glee to idle encapsulation, with each track being extended through a combination of solos from the band’s various members – always with heavy jazz influences. On the keys, Oliver Cadman raised many to their tip toes in an attempt to follow those magical fingers. 

On the keys, Oliver Cadman raised many to their tip toes in an attempt to follow those magical fingers

The crowd were all smiles and movement throughout, however the turning point was Straight Lines from their self-titled debut album that elevated the mood into a full fiesta. From this point on, the brass seemed to be even louder and more succinct, and the transition between tempos was as smooth as you like. 

Nubiyan Twist showed their versatility with tracks such as Jungle Run adding some Flying Lotus-esque trip hop, whilst the brilliant Borders featuring Pilo Adami brought in some Latin flavours. If I were forced to pick any holes in the gig, it would only be that there wasn’t room for popular track Figure Numatic, however, every other song had more than a right to be in its place and just goes to show that this reasonably new group have confidence in their material.

Nubiyan Twist showed their versatility with tracks such as Jungle Run adding some Flying Lotus-esque trip hop

Honestly, for me, it’s the gig to beat this year so far, and I think a lot of the audience as well as the band themselves would concur. Nubiyan Twist praised Bristol for such stellar support and energy, whilst asking someone from the floor to snap a photograph of them on stage before exiting to the merch stand. The new album will surely be a huge trampoline into 2019 and I hope to catch them again on the festival circuit soon. 

Photos by Ania Shrimpton

For me, it’s the gig to beat this year so far

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