Its 9:30PM, and The Go! Team kick off, bang on time, with their awesome new track T.O.R.N.A.D.O, fresh from their third album Rolling Blackouts. This track is a great start to their set; with a pounding bass and thundering drums it is really meaty, punchy and powerful, and is also a personal favourite from the new album. This impressive sonic vibe continued through their next few tracks – and indeed was prevalent in most of their numbers. The combination of thick thick bass coupled with the two drum kits and their two bass drums punching in unison created sound waves that literally moved my hair – not unlike a scene from Scott Pilgrim vs. the World.
The two drum kits are a huge part of The Go! Team’s live appeal – they create such an overwhelming sound, and synchronised drumming is always impressive. A strong competitor for the limelight however is Ninja, the band’s charismatic front-woman. She really worked at getting the crowd going, even though it was a dreary, wet Tuesday night in February. She somewhat succeeded too, developing a good bit of call and response with the audience. She is an incredibly boisterous and excitable singer, and the audience eventually got fully caught up in her enthusiasm, dancing around and waving their arms. Occasional front ladies Kaori Tsuchida and Chi Fukami-Taylor were also on form. They have a bit less oomph than Ninja, but both their vocal styles have a cute, pleasant, tonal quality that adds a nice reprieve from Ninja’s exuberance.
There is a nice dynamic to The Go! Team live – the equal male/female set-up gives the music (and the band’s performance of it) a rounded, unbiased quality, which is very multi-dimensional. Where the group’s records are typically sample-centric, in a live setting vocals, guitars, drums and samples all take centre stage. The samples are a vital part of The Go! Team’s music however, and their inclusion in the performance adds a post-modern depth of archive-extracted coolness. To add a further bit of intrigue to the performance the group also replicate a lot of their samples live. Secretary Song is a particularly good example of this, which had a real old-fashioned typewriter alongside the keyboards and sample desks. The typewriter was played fantastically well, and added a quirky bit of live musique concrete to the proceedings.
Throughout their set, the band play new tracks from Rolling Blackouts with old favourites like Bottle Rocket and the classic Ladyflash. The audience were kept on their toes with complex, frequent line-up and instrument changes, which were executed with nonchalant precision. All the individual musicians were great in their own right, but it is as a combined unit that The Go! Team’s unique, bombastic sound is truly realised. Their individual parts; the multitude of instruments, the samples, the numerous influences, from funk to noise pop to garage rock, are all strong. But combined on stage together, the band and their music develop an almost superhuman strength, much stronger than the sum of their parts.