Nahko Parayno, lead singer of Nahko & Medicine for the People set the mood for the night by taking the stage with his friend and local Santa Fean. She shared a poem with the audience while Nahko accompanied her on keys. The words she shared reminded me of a guided visualization that an experienced yoga instructor might lead a class through. Rather than a class of yoga students, she spoke to a packed crowd of music enthusiasts. It was a perfect way to get the crowd prepared for what was in store.
After this woman’s beautiful words were shared, the rest of the band joined Nahko and together, they were quick to share their charisma and enthusiasm with the crowd. The band has an overall positive and loving message. During the show, it was clear that there is also a fierceness and explosiveness within Nahko. While many of his lyrics stem from a metaphysical place of love and unity, he is not afraid to channel anger and conscious opposition into his performance. It was refreshing to hear and see beyond the simple message of love. It was real and it was raw.
There was also plenty of joy in the band as they played together. A good majority of their performance sounded very similar to the quality and clarity of their studio albums. But they also took some time to jam individually and collectively. Nahko took a moment to unleash a reggae-like freestyle. The lead guitarist took multiple opportunities to solo furiously on his acoustic guitar. Each member seemed to be pouring their hearts into the music as they melded into each other.
The overall performance was excellent. The band did choose not to play a couple of their more popular songs and they confused the crowd by not coming out for an encore. But they made up for it by giving the audience a high energy show that was a true celebration to the Spring Equinox. If Nahko and Medicine for the People roll into your town, it’s definitely worth checking them out.