The Go! Team, Banjo or Freakout

Mike Hughes 08/02/2011

Returning to the live fray like a wave of jubilation, The Go! Team lit up London's Heaven and turned it into a loved up sweatbath. Some distinctly average support had left the audience expectant but flat. It took the Brighton six piece only as long as getting on stage and strapping on instruments to see the place erupt. This was pretty good going given that the first track was T.O.R.N.A.D.O. Off the new album, it's hardly an embedded favourite. On the other hand, it encapsulates an awful lot of what this band are about, with scratching over tumbling blaring horns; a sound that arches all the way back to their roots 7 years ago. By the time we were four songs into the set, all three of their albums were represented.

The new album has some significant guests, and I was wondering how they would handle that. First test was 'Secretary Song' which on the record has the honours done by Satomi from Deerhoof (check out the video, it's touching). Out live tonight, Kaori did the business, and a great job too. She did the same later in the set on 'Buy Nothing Day' which on the record has vox by Beth Constantino. Drummer Chi stepped up for 'Ready To Go Steady' and I'm bound to say that she was the only one that was a bit lost on the stage of what is usually a dance club, with a sound system to match. The stage is 5 feet high, with the space under it a testament to how many bass bins they could feasibly cram in. The whole thing vibrates like the deck of an aircraft carrier when the jump jets are landing.

At some point between songs there was a spontaneous eruption of audience singing that might have been the intro to 'Get It Together'. Ninja joined in and went with for a few moments. It was one of those nights for singing and getting sweaty with strangers, no place for bystanders

For all the democracy of the band, and the production weight that rests easily on Ian Parton's shoulders, the star of the night is Ninja. If you were in any doubt, they played 'Yosemite Theme'. It's a track off the new album but really does hark back to Parton's bedroom one man band days. It's instrumental for 90% of its length with some mouth organ noodling over those reconstituted Saturday morning TV theme moments. It's pleasant but right at the end Ninja came back on stage and joined in on vocals. The room was hit with a massive concrete wave of both vocal volume and sheer presence. It was like walking down the street and having a wall jump out and hit you in the face.

Ninja worried too much on the stage, giving us tests "What's the name of the first single off the new album?". Sure they knew down the front. Actually so did I, but lost in a knot of kids who looked like they'd learned their jigging in a forest rave, such details seemed beyond the point. The sold out gig, the energy bouncing back at them like rollers, that was the proof that this audience loved them enough, trust us

Setlist - T.O.R.N.A.D.O. / Grip Like A Vice / Huddle Formation / Voice Your Choice / Secretary Song / Ladyflash / Running Range / Ready To Go Steady / Yosemite Theme / Flashlight Fight / Buy Nothing Day /Bottle Rocket / The Power Is On / Keys To The City // Apollo Throwdown / Titanic Vandalism