They recently released their fifth studio album, ‘Semicircle’, yet The Go! Team don’t seem to be ageing at all. On the contrary, Brighton’s eclectic collective plays like they were growing… younger. That is, more or less, the taste I have in my mouth while I leave a packed Electric Ballroom in London’s Camden, on a Thursday evening. It’s February 15th, there’s no trace anymore of the cheesiness Valentine’s day spreads on a yearly basis and Camden’s iconic venue is just as vibrant as Ninja’s vocals.
Let me start from the beginning, thought, because the first good notes of the night come from the first support act of the night, Daniel Wakeford, whose curly hair dominates on stage during the opening set. Rock ‘n Roll and pop digressions are the main ingredients, and the singer-songwriter showcases all his charisma in a genuine way. Shortly after, it’s time for Berlin’s outfit GURR to take the stage. A change of register is around the corner, and honest punk-rock begins to fill the Ballroom with tunes that don’t last over three minutes and are built on haunting drum patterns that merge with the band’s distorted guitars and sharp vocals. Keep an eye (well, an ear) on them.
The Go! Team, led by mastermind’s Ian Parton, British rapper Ninja and the rest of the (huge) lineup, show up when the atmosphere is already electric. All eyes are on the stage, where the band share energy, enthusiasm and gratefulness, alternating bangers from their early production and the latest album. ‘Flashlight Fight’ is the big opening track, whilst the first part of the setlist (‘Ladyflash’, ‘Grip Like A Voice’, ‘Hey!’, ‘Semicircle Song’ are amongst the few tracks played) sees the members swapping instruments all of a sudden, highlighting Parton’s unmatchable ability to create powerful riffs and blend them with well calibrated choruses.
The night grows in intensity, and it’s undeniable – looking around – that every single soul in the Ballroom is having a hell of a time. The Go! Team are that band able to make you move even if you don’t fancy the idea of doing so. They play portentous garage rock utilising two drum sets at the same time; one minute later, you will find yourself staring at the stage whilst some synth-soaked psych-pop grows slowly. ‘Huddle Formation’, ‘All The Way Live’ and ‘Keys To The City’ draw a curtain on the show, but it lasts no more than a couple of minutes. Ninja is back on stage followed by the rest of the band, for a two-song encore that culminates with ‘The Power Is On’, the grand finale.
The Go! Team make you dance, no matter whether you have been with them since day one or you were born too late to miss their effervescent debut. Ninja and friends are there for you and will take you by the hand, leading through a bizarre sonic journey that explores garage pop, rock, hints of punk, synth psychedelia and a clever revisitation of old school hip hop. I am sure I am missing something else, but who cares, when all you got to do is jump?