“Hoka hey!” is a Native American battle cry that literally translates as “today is a good day to die,” but the true intentions of the phrase are meant to inspire. In what scenario would today be a good day to die? Any day that was truly experienced to the fullest. “Hoka hey” means to go out and LIVE! To create, to inspire, to leave this world a better place for the next seven generations. Nahko & Medicine for the People’s latest album, “HOKA”, empowers that exact feeling. On Thursday night the 26th, Nahko & MFTP rolled through Chicago to sell out The Concord Music Hall on their Hoka: A Call to Action Tour.
The band took the stage to a sold out, roaring, and hyped crowd with A Tribe Called Red’s “Electric Pow Wow Drum.” This set the tone for the night that this wasn’t just a concert, but it was a gathering. Everyone was ready to dance and kept the motion flowing through the entire set, matching Nahko nearly word for word on every track of the night that were mostly tunes representing the “HOKA” album.
Ready to launch into action, “All Can Be Done” kicked off the night, and was followed by consecutive segues that funkified the crowd with “It Is Written” and “San Quentin.” “It is Written” also featured the final verse from the typical opening show blessing, “4 Directions.” A powerful and thrilling version of “Make a Change” blasted the crowd through the roof, but the Medicine seduced us right back with the enticing “Runner.”
The middle portion of the show proved to be the most dynamic and moving. Nahko went solo on his keyboard for a medley of songs which included verses from “So Thankful” and “Aloha Ke Akua,” both hit tracks off their 2nd album, Dark as Night. Nahko then left the stage for violinist Tim Snider to make an absolute heart-melting tune out of “Two Wolves.”
His notes danced and fluttered with impressive precision to a soaring peak that seamlessly transitioned into “Dear Brother,” with Nahko returning for vocals. Towards the end of the track, the band had slowly trickled back to their instruments and lead a cohesive buildup with shouts of “Peace in America!” to climax the jam. The rest of MFTP again left the stage for Nahko to return to his keyboard and get meaningful for an inspiring rap themed around social injustice. The theme continued with the band slowly returning as Nahko segued into an extended intro of “Love Letters to God” (watch the brand new chilling music video, dedicated to Standing Rock, here). The band capped off the set with a perfect placement of “We Are on Time.” Throughout that entire set, the band displayed powerful synergy by rotating both impressive solos and cohesive climaxes that only seemed to peak higher and higher with the frenzied enjoyment from the crowd.
Nahko returned from the encore break alone to greet the crowd with a dedication to “kicking ass in 2017. Are you ready? Are you ready? ARE YOU READY?” he shouted, as he begun playing a new song “Are You Ready.” The band returned by the end of the chorus, and finally, an all-encompassing sing-along “Tus Pies,” and the final verse of “Manifesto“ capped the night of empowering healing with the message: ~ “Find your medicine and use it.” ~
Electric Pow Wow Intro >
All Can Be Done >
It is Written >
4 Directions (last verse only) >
Make a Change
Nahko Solo Medley*
Two Wolves@ >
Nahko solo rap >
Love Letters to God
We Are on Time
Are You Ready
*including verses of Carry On, So Thankful, Aloha Ke Akua
@Tim Snider solo
#with final verse of Manifesto
All concert images taken with permission from Aaron Bradley Photo. Check out the rest of his awesome vibrant concert photos at his Facebook page.