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If there was a band whose name perfectly sums up their appeal it’s The Go! Team. The word ‘go’, emphasized with an exclamation mark, impresses on you a sense of urgency and movement that is written through their music like a stick of rock. Although it doesn’t evoke their music as well, support act Banjo Or Freakout also have an interesting name. One wonders what possible scenario would force someone to pick between such two disparate choices. The London-based trio impresses with a lot of textured guitar sounds, driving basslines reminiscent of Joy Division, a strong grasp of dynamics with a building sense of drama, and a lead singer (Alessio Natalizia) who looks like Perry Farrell’s geekier, scrawnier younger brother. I do admit to being somewhat distracted by the drama unfolding behind me during their set however, as the bouncers attempted to eject a rather drunk and bedraggled figure who seemed extremely reluctant to leave. The first bouncer, about three times the height of the errant drinker, was unable to dissuade him to leave, and called upon the help of a colleague. As they attempted to lead him to the exit, he scissored his legs and arms around a crowd barrier and refused to let go. Eventually he did. The headliners burst onto stage and deliver an hour long set that is an explosion of boisterous energy with their distinctive mix of grindhouse movie soundtracks, Sonic Youth guitar freakouts and hip-hop beats. Lead singer/rapper Ninja would be five foot tall if she stood on her tiptoes, but is a compelling presence who commands attention by bouncing around the stage in her denim pedal pushers and Bruce Willis vest with the combined energy of ten aerobics instructors. The multiracial, multi-instrumental six-piece are in constant motion, swapping instruments and lead vocal duties. Ninja lets the crowd know she expects them to be just as energetic, and at one point gaffer-tapes a camera to her midriff to film them. Although a lot of material is played from their latest album Rolling Blackouts, they do continually fall back on songs from their 2005 debut Thunder, Lightening, Strike – and with good reason, as they just about rip the roof off the place with early single The Power Is On. One does suspect that the band perhaps fulfilled their full potential with their Mercury-nominated first outing. Certainly songs from their two subsequent albums tend to blend into each other and don’t get as strong a response as the likes of Ladyflash, with the exception of new single Buy Nothing Day. Despite that, The Go! Team are still one of the most dynamic, energetic and just plain fun live acts you are likely to see. The encore rendition of Junior Kickstart – also from the first album -in particular is possibly the most thrilling and kick-ass moment I’ve seen at a gig in a long time, and everyone leaves with a big smile on their face.

Words and photo: Paul McGarvey