Brighton’s all-singing, all-dancing sextet show Hollywood how to do entertainment
Being on the road with The Go! Team is like hanging out in a sanatorium with a misplaced group of non-crazies. At first it’s tough to determine why this group of hardworking music geeks attract the sort of eccentrics they do. Then we meet suitably freakish fan Arjean at one of their gigs and he puts us straight: “It’s because I haven’t seen anyone as talented as these motherfuckers in a long, fucking goddamned time.” The six members of The Go! Team have been on the road since mid-June and in that time, they’ve managed to infuse the lives of some of the world’s oddest characters with their effusive brand of glee. The band’s driver for the Los Angeles leg of their current world tour claims to be ‘Pete The Killer’ from Scorsese’s legendary mobster flick Goodfellas. By the end of the band’s stay in LA, “Big G” (as he’s known to close friends) is introducing The Go! Team to the audience, proposing he and the band make a cartoon tour documentary together, and planning an elaborate family trip to Venice Beach before driving them to the airport. “I consider it a good investment – these kids are gonna catch on like wildfire,” Big G growls.
As if to highlight the discrepancy between the normality of life in the band and the madness that surrounds them, The Go! Team are staying in LA’s Hyatt hotel for the duration of their two-night residency at the city’s Troubadour club. For those who haven’t seen Almost Famous, the Hyatt (aka Riot House) has been the perennial scene of rock’n’roll hedonism in LA since the ’60s. So what do The Go! Team do? Hoover up earthworm-sized lines of cocaine? Entertain eager, underage groupies? Spend alcohol-fuelled nights in the rooftop pool? No. Laundry.
“I know. It’s very glamorous: what did you do in LA? I washed my dirty knickers,” drummer Silke Steidinger shrugs, hanging her still-wet jeans on the hook in the shower. Indeed, the fastest offstage life gets for The Go! Team in LA is when spitfire frontwoman Ninja and guitarist Sam Dook go to a cowboy-themed restaurant near the hotel and ride a mechanical bull.
Instead, it’s onstage whereThe Go! Team channel all their adrenal hi-jinx. With all the instrument swapping and dance routines it should be chaos, but this gang make it look anything but. Ego-less and with a glinting-in-the-sunshine feel, the band’s live show is organised joy. Ninja is the most natural of frontwomen. Dancing like a kid in a playground, she manages to pull in some serious audience participation, transforming even the most sardonic of LA scenesters into clapping dance monkeys.
Their debut album, ‘Thunder, Lightning, Strike’‚ clocks in at a short 35 minutes and, because it’s filled with samples and arrangements, is impossible to replicate onstage. So alongside well-honed live favourites ‘The Power Is On’‚ and the schoolyard romp of ‘Ladyflash’, The Go! Team throw in some new numbers, too. Highlights include the wilfully upbeat ‘We Just Won’t Be Defeated’‚ and ‘Hold Yr Terror Close’‚ which sees drummer Chi come out from behind her kit to take lead vocals, accompanied only by keyboards. After the show, band leader Ian Parton casually opens a Heineken with his teeth, Silke changes into Birkenstocks and bassist Jamie Bell packs up the food from backstage to take to the hotel. But even nice kids have to kick back once in a while. The Team head out to Forbidden City, the site of the official aftershow. By the time they arrive, the scene is raunchy. Walking past couples making out on vinyl couches, the band pick their way into the VIP area, where hipsters in tube dresses are grinding against their camp Dior-clad dates. Ninja turns to us in wide-eyed delight.
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“I knew there were places like this,” she gasps, “but I’ve just never seen them before!” Lock up your laundry – The Go! Team aren’t in Brighton any more.