Nancy Hogg reports on The Go! Team - The Junction, Cambridge 25 February 2008

The Go! Team
Going to a gig by The Go! Team is akin to having your car hijacked by a gang of cheerleaders in hot pursuit of a getaway car stopping only to pick up rapping hitchhikers and a brass section before crashing headlong into a 1970’s TV commercial. And that’s no exaggeration. Splicing sirens, cheerleading chants, rapping, Sonic Youth style fuzzy guitars and brief moments of soulful serenity really shouldn’t work. But, somehow, it does. With bells on.

Brainchild of Brighton-based Ian Parton, this musically eclectic collective purvey a kind of joyful hysteria. Both experimental and sample-laden, the sound is a no-holds-barred journey through pop music, taking in everything from hip hop to electro funk and Motown along the way. The first album was put together by Parton in his basement recording studio. The Go! Team live act was only formed in 2004 in response to an opportunity to support Franz Ferdinand and, luckily for us, they accepted the invitation.

Chief MC Ninja is in fine fettle tonight, leaping about the stage like an errant teenager. She hardly stops moving for an instant, stopping only to pass lead vocals to Kaori Tsuchida to appear seconds later on the drums. Much of the set tonight hails from the 2007 Proof of Youth album, highlights of which include Doing it Right, with the triumphant refrain ‘This is woman’s work you gotta give it what you got!’ Other high-lights include Grips like a Vice and Keys to the City which builds a wall of sound of Phil Spector proportions. Indeed, their songs have the habit of starting in full throttle only to build in intensity and end in a crescendo. At one point Ninja dances a frantic round of every dance style imaginable and in doing so truly encapsulates the spirit of The Go! Team: a sense of fun combined with an almost anorakesque appreciation of musical history.

With so much self conscious posturing from performers it’s invigorating to see a band as ‘cool’ as The Go! Team truly let their hair down. Ninja emits a visceral energy matched only by the enthusiasm of the rest of the band, who too communicate a genuine enjoyment of being on stage. It seems incidental that they all look fabulous while they’re doing it. So, The Go! Team live is similar to having your car hijacked: my advice - don’t ask too many questions, just sit back and enjoy the ride.

Writer: Nancy Hogg