The Go! Team @ O2 Academy 2, Liverpool 20.02.11

Brightonians on incendiary live form in Liverpool

Feb 20th, 2011 at O2 Academy 2, Liverpool / By Richard Lewis
The Go! Team @ O2 Academy 2, Liverpool 20.02.11 Passing through the subway by Lime St. Station on the way to the venue, a busker singing The Verve’s ‘The Drugs Don’t Work’, proves an apt way to set the scene for tonight’s gig.

Support act Banjo Or Freakout appear to be fans of the same band, yet have absorbed the sounds of Richard Ashcroft’s lieutenant Nick McCabe rather than the occasionally dreary ballads of the singer’s solo work. In view of their strange moniker, Banjo or Freakout don’t contain either element, rather a mesmeric series of chords endlessly rippling out underpinned by melodic basslines.

Opening with a lengthy Brian Eno/Daniel Lanois style ambient soundbath, strident drumbeats kick in and they motor through their opening brace of tracks. The decision made by some bands to have an ‘offstage’ member responsible for mixing and sound levels may be needed by the present act, as the constant knob twiddling on the guitarist’s rack-mounted FX units sacrifices audience interaction.

When the infinitesimal changes have been made to the various loops however, the sound that results from it is frequently wonderful, recalling Coldplay at their most adventurous or (The) Verve at their most expansive.

Kicking off with incendiary recent single ‘T.O.R.N.A.DO.’, The Go! Team’s black/white, boy/girl fusion has seemingly grown richer and deeper during their four-year hiatus. Blitzing through ‘Grip Like a Vice’ second, they possibly improve on the studio version, a trick they repeat many times in the set, their onstage energy proving infectious.

Evoking the Day-Glo Sesame St vibe of vintage De La Soul, the extended lay-off seemingly hasn’t dimmed the band’s joyous melee of rock, hip-hop, pop and Bollywood soundtracks one iota, 'Bottle Rocket’s’ genre-blurring party themes effectively define their credo, lifted by its off-kilter melodica solo midway through.

New songs ‘Back Like 8 Track’ and album title track ‘Rolling Blackouts’ meanwhile, easily slot in alongside debut single ‘Junior Kickstart’ and still brilliant ‘The Power Is On.’ Elsewhere, ‘Buy Nothing Day’, one of the finest singles of last year, is possibly the greatest track My Bloody Valentine never got round to writing.

This, coupled with ‘Secretary Song,’ sung by vocalist Kaori, display the band’s sixties pop infatuation, sounding like something Emma Peel would listen to prior to an evening at a Chelsea nightclub. With the delicate glockenspiel riffs and assorted percussion ringing out clearly amongst the guitar clatter, the six-piece who could easily sound unwieldy onstage, allow their subtle nuances to shine.

The chorus of ‘The Power Is On' chorus easily ignites the crowd six years since its release, the temperature in the room conspicuously rising as the gig progresses. Despite the very reasonable turnout for a Sunday and the rapturous applause the sextet receive, it remains a mystery why these Brightonians aren’t playing bigger venues.

‘Team leader Ian Parton recently revealed on BBC 6Music that new LP Rolling Blackouts and accompanying jaunt may well be the last activities the band undertake. On tonight’s evidence their imminent dissolution will be nothing short of a crying shame.