Last time State talked to Rusangano Family, they described their gigs in three words – ruckus, energy and family. This description proves to be incredibly apt as they put on a display that makes a claim for them having one of the best live shows in Ireland at the moment. Every aspect of the set (the fast paced rhyming, the thumping instrumentals, the (almost) synchronised dancing) is unique to their identity; one that is friendly, inviting and “for the people”.
The mix of instrumentals from MynameisjOhn makes for a frantic first half that never lets up. ‘Both Sides’, from MuRli’s Surface Tension EP, initiates the bass heavy setlist that is delivered with skill and expertise. John is the not so secret ingredient as to why the set is so immersive. He is able to achieve an incredibly loud yet crystal clear sound that is unparalleled. Any brief breaks in the onslaught of tracks are for random giveaways of the bare essentials i.e. Weetabix, teabags, toothbrushes.
Rusangano Family are a very well oiled machine and the show peaks at such a high that can only come from copious amounts of practice. However, it never feels over rehearsed and always maintains an air of spontaneity. They are not just excellent performers but showmen too with undeniable chemistry and charisma. Watching them interact with each other or the crowd is just as entertaining as the music, a coveted ability to have among artists looking to expand their fan base.
After a brief exchange of words with the “sound” soundman, they treat the crowd to an impromptu encore. Appreciative of the energy from the audience and reciprocating it tenfold, they may have impressed many supporting Run the Jewels in December but are most in their element when owning the stage for the night. After watching them perform for over an hour, it is hard to imagine any artist that would want to follow a spectacle this big and impressive.
Rusangano Family photographed for State by Julie Bienvenu