The Go! Team, Heaven, London
The Go! Team's Ninja is doing her best to rowdy up the crowd at their first London gig for years. "We've noticed that the further north you get, the better the crowds are," she says by way of motivation. It almost works as she beckons a half-hearted pogo to their early hit, "Ladyflash". Albeit one that has more health and safety provisos than a local council sports day – "Jump up and down, not left to right, only we can do that." Yes, ma'am. And, in wearing a pink sports bra and bouncing around clapping under her legs, which are swung like a seven-iron, there's more than a hint of a fitness DVD to proceedings: Get Fit with MC Ninja and Five Indie Scruffs.
That feeling is cemented by the relentless energy of their music, always their greatest strength and weakness. The Brightonians' 2004 debut, Thunder, Lightning, Strike, was a gleeful hodgepodge of samples, rap, grunge guitars and sonic innovation – mainly strung together in main man's Ian Parton's house. The Go! Team are now on their third album, Rolling Blackouts, which provides more of the same, albeit with more original musicianship. It follows the gladitorially gleeful tone of their earlier works, as tracks like tonight's opener "T.O.R.N.A.D.O." and "Secretary Song" – featuring a heavy typewriter as part of the percussion section – thunder through the venue as Ninja raps and cheerleads over the top. There's so much coming out of the stage but live, as on record, you wonder if they could do with an edit function – they've got more major keys than Timpson and more chorus than the Dionysia. Their music packs so much in that it's hard to mentally track the moments to savour. But despite them putting far too much ! in their Go, it's hard to pour too much scorn on a band enjoying themselves so much that they finish almost every number with a School of Rock-style synchronised guitar slam.
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