Photography: Glyn Akroyd

Nubiyan Twist

Future Yard 2/10/21

Having never ventured over the treacherous Mersey waters and into the unknown territory of Birkenhead, I’m pleased to say that my experience is nothing short of blissful. The train here (only six minutes, why do we all act like it’s a trek?), the rushed, soggy walk through the rainy night, and all worth it. Upon entry into the warm and cosy venue, we’re welcomed by an ice-cold pint and DJ playing mellow tunes on a mezzanine which hangs over the bar. By the time we’ve downed our drinks, it’s time to head in for the real deal.

NUBIYAN TWIST emerging from the backstage area at Future Yard conjure images of a magician’s illusion; we’re left whooping and hollering for three, five, ten minutes as an endless string of band members find their places, crammed onto the stage in a way that feels deliciously intimate.

We’re here for the Freedom Fables tour, and Birkenhead’s own RIA MORAN serenades us with Morning Light, the intro to the album, under violet-hued lights, fitting in perfectly with the band she met during university, creating an atmosphere that feels like we’re watching a group of old friends have a jam, except no one misses a beat and everyone is pitch perfect.


She floats around, almost spectral in her billowing sleeves, moving to the music effortlessly; it’s as though it pulses through them, every movement seeming effortless, as though the sound possesses them.

Moran sings almost every track, despite only lending vocals to one song on the album, adapting Flow and Tittle Tattle, an energetic, epileptic fit of song normally sung by Cherise, to suit her own, softer vocals. The energy for this is unmatched, saxophones and trumpets playing at hyper speed while chaos ensues in the crowd, it’s clear that this is a favourite, and Moran really makes it her own. There’s a break in which I’m certain everyone in the room is either screaming or throwing themselves around, hyped up on pure joy and adrenaline.


We’re also treated to appearances from K.O.G and PILO ADAMI, who sings in Brazilian Portuguese, weaving his own lyrics and melodies into Ma Wonka, which is usually sung by Pat Thomas. This adaptable approach, remoulding the set to suit those present on the road is what makes this collective so unique; not only do they fuse genres, but languages and cultures as well. This doesn’t just feel like a gig, but more of a multisensory, mind-opening experience.

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