Team Me @ Hammersmith Apollo, London 14.03.11

Warm waves of silky spring air evoke that European charm that has flooded the UK of late.

Mar 14th, 2011 at Hammersmith Apollo, London / By Clementine Lloyd
Team Me Flouting standard issue placements, Team Me take a linear stance on stage at the Hammersmith Apollo, lined up as they are left to right just so: Drummer Christian Løvhaug, bassist Uno Møller Christiansen, guitarist Anders Magnor Killerud, lady of the keys Synne Øverland Knudsen, vocalist Marius Drogsås Hagen, and fellow keys master and ‘pling-plong’ accompanist Thomas Meidell. Displaying trademark sunny attitude as they trip out into the warm lights, the first few bars of ‘Dear Sister’ play out, and their high-energy stage show begins.

In a solid line like this, hemmed into a centre oblong on a frankly massive stage, you would be forgiven for thinking that the set up is a little odd. As the set moves on however, the punchy rhythm and thudding drums bounding round the massive auditorium, their literal line-up does much more to emphasize what each member is bringing to the table. Despite the restricted movement, Synne uses her keyboard to great effect, slamming with one hand and stomping her feet. The buzz is pretty raw, and they own the attention from everyone in the capacity venue, not least for their use of a large number of instruments, some of which defy expectation.

The ‘pling-plong’, already name-checked, similar to the inner workings of a organ grinders instrument (where tiny prongs are set against a counter turned set of holes, in order to make a pleasant clinking sound) does a lot to inform the sense of wonderous hazy sunshine drawn through the air. It seems that both Synne and Uno are kitted with a drum pad and snare too. Extra percussion goes a long way, and with Thomas taking the lead on the FX, there is a heck of a lot to contend with! Though they by no means make use of every instrument used in their tracks (we notice the sad lack of a harp this evening), every single one of their number are heavy on vocals, creating this grand chorus at points, massaging your heart in your chest as they do so, so that it leaps with joy.

The tendency to adopt that bright and poppy atmosphere also affected by bands like Treefight For Sunlight is nothing particularly new, though the careering orchestral quality which colours ‘Winter Olympics ‘94’ is beautiful and arresting in a way that you wouldn’t expect. Amidst cheers and woops, Marius, who makes up the bulk of the sparse chatter with the crowd, maintains a characteristic modesty, thanking voyeurs for their applause. Pulling an unexpected shift in pace with a number in which falsetto sighs flutter against harsher lyrics, the pulse racing with the drum-beat and bass notes.

Ending on a track seemingly titled ‘Mack and Meat’, the shades are most definitely drawn as a weapon, though the content of this poppy number hints at darker thoughts, exploring the nature of mediocrity sucking you down to a place you don’t want to be. A break with the intense brightness of the last few tracks, it is refreshing to feel a hint that Team Me can go further into their psyche, and draw out some tougher elements to play with. Though it has to be said this has been beautifully exemplified in ‘Fool’, a track which sadly did not grace their set. Captivating to the last however, there sure is more of this to come as the UK heats up.