Friday, February 11, 2011

The Go Team / The Soundcarriers @ The HMV Institute, Thursday 10th February 2011

Psych-folk, krautrock, it what you will...Nottingham’s The Soundcarriers are one of those bands that make the sort of achingly cool music that you probably pretended to like when you were at school (whilst secretly listening to the latest boy/girl band du jour). Obvious recent influences (to my ears at least)include Stereolab and Broadcast (RIP Trish) but there’s also a bit more wigging out in places that hints at some of Brian Auger’s stuff or even the soundtrack to Hair. The male/female harmonies created that woozy, tripped out frame of mind that everybody seemed to have at music festivals in the 60’s (well, they do on the clips I’ve seen...I wasn’t old do you think I am eh?) and the only criticism I can throw at them is that I’d have liked some of the tracks to go on for an hour or two longer. Yep, there’s something about the motorik groove in ‘Morning Haze’ for example that’s really addictive and the whole set left me wanting more.

By rights The Go Team shouldn’t really exist as a live act. Originally a studio project from producer Ian Parton they apparently only came to life when someone asked him and his ‘band’ to play live and he had to hastily assemble a group to perform with. The debut album that Ian created (more or less on his own I believe) ‘Thunder, Lightning, Strike’ was a classic. A glorious sampledelic masterpiece it stuck out as something special back on its release in 2004 and it still sounds great today. The challenge that the band’s always faced is how to bring all this to life. Given the range of samples used on some of their stuff it simply ain’t possible. So, wisely, they don’t try to replicate the precise sound of the recorded tracks, opting instead to use them more as a framework for a different, rawer kind of interpretation. If that sounds like a recipe for a bit of a dog’s dinner, relax, happily they have a secret weapon in frontwoman Ninja. Part rapper, part super cool Red Coat, part one woman exercise video she burst onto the stage during opening number T.O.R.N.A.D.O and well and truly got the party started from the get go. Boy has she got some energy. Scrap wind farms, just wire her up to the national grid and voila...problem solved.

Ninja aside, the band’s other live strength lies in their versatility as musicians. Whilst some bands may swap instruments with each other from time to time The Go Team constantly mixed it up tonight, so the drummer becomes the singer, the guitarist plays the keyboards, the bassist plays the harmonica, the drummer plays the on...the guitar...and so it goes...a merry go round of thrashy musical mayhem that somehow, incredibly, works. Synchronised drumming throughout most of the set added a real big beat phatness to the’s a joy to actually watch two drummers in perfect harmony too. Clever stuff. Content wise the set drew from all three albums, with the hits (‘Bottle Rocket’, ‘Ladyflash’ and ‘Grip Like A Vice’) and other tracks from their debut predictably going down a storm. If anything the new material on their latest album ‘Rolling Blackouts’ is even stronger though. I’ve already mentioned the audio hurricane that is T.O.R.N.A.D.O, to that you can add a couple of mellower tracks, the sublime ‘Buy Nothing Day’ (sung tonight by Kaori) and the perfect slice of 60’s pop ‘Ready To Go Steady’, sung by the adorable Chi. I’ve wittered on enough (no change there then) but you can actually sum this whole gig up in just one word. FUN. I defy anyone to come out of a Go Team gig not feeling better than when they went in and that’s not a bad recommendation eh?

Having Ninja dedicate a song to me (“This is for the guy with the circus moustache”) made the night even more special ...although to be fair she did go on to dedicate it to anyone with glasses, hair or no hair...which I guess covers the rest of the human race..but still...I was touched and all that. The night climaxed with a mass pogo that left more than one or two of us a sweaty, but happy, mess. Ahhhh...good times.

I’ve read rumours that this tour and current album might signal the beginning of the end of The Go Team, which would be a crying shame. But best to be on the safe side either way. Go see ‘em whilst you’ve still got the chance. Satisfaction guaranteed. Tell them the guy with the circus moustache sent you...

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