The Go! Team - Wulfrun Hall, Wolverhampton

2005, no matter what this years lacklustre Brits might have suggested, was a fantastic year for music. We were treated to clever guitar pop (Maximo Park, We Are Scientists), shimmering electro-dance beats (Goldfrapp, Mylo), and hip-hop finally reclaiming some dignity (Kanye West, M.I.A.). However, it was one band and one only that broke the public conscience by blending these three genres (and more) so fantastically. The Go! Team seemingly came out of nowhere to steadily build a growing fanbase throughout the year, culminating in their Mercury Music Prize nomination for album Thunder, Lightning, Strike. A deserved one, too, as this band are perhaps the most original - and downright fun! - outfits to emerge from the UK in a good long while.

Their showing at the Wulfrun Hall was very ably supported by The Grates who, despite their appalling name, have a star-in-the-making in the form of frontwoman Patience. She sounds like Karen O but you ain't seen that lady let loose as much as this gal! Their party-starting garage rock sound might not seem the most obvious choice to get a Go! Team gig going. However, when the main attraction hit the stage it becomes clear what the link is between the two bands - a frontwoman that displays so much charisma she is in danger of exploding onstage!

MC Ninja is the first thing one takes note of when presented with the live Go! Team experience. As they launch into Panther Dash, a rollicking assault on the senses that is near-instrumental on the album, Ninja lets loose her rhymes and lets the rhythm take control. She sounds and moves as if possessed - and that's a good thing! Merely telling someone who hasn't seen her in action does not do justice to the amazing stage presence of this girl.

However, it's not a one-woman show in any way - a staple of the band's multi-handed approach. There are six members, after all. It's only a slight exaggeration when I say almost every instrument made is employed at least once. Okay, that is a huge exaggeration but it is a sight to see band members finish one song then quickly swap guitars, jump in front of a keyboard, pick up a tambourine, etc. Their set, which lasts for a good hour, is obviously well-rehearsed but has a slight touch of the shambolic about it, only adding to its charm. The band test out a new song for the first time ever, jump around on the limiting stage as if they're performing at Wembley, and Ninja's freestyling with the crowd is a wonder unto itself. The crowd are, needless to say, loving it, a fact which only seems to add to the boundless energy the six-piece convey in their performance.

The highlights of a set full of technicolour pop-cum-rock, by way of retro TV theme tune samples, are the feelgood anthems Huddle Formation and Bottle Rocket. However, the meatiest moment comes during The Power is On, where menacing chord changes aid the band's utter rock-out on stage, their overall happy-clappy sound momentarily put on hold for something heavier. The weaker moments of the hour come during the non-album tracks, a lack of familiarity suggesting the audience are twiddling their thumbs during these numbers and awaiting the next big choon 'off the album'. However, it's a testament to the band's musical skill that the instrumental tracks stand up, with Ninja leaving the stage completely at least twice, as if to prove she wouldn't be as great as she is were it not for the music that backs her up.

The packed Wulfrun Hall is one jumping mass of people come the obligatory encore of current single Ladyflash. It's as flawless as can be and almost a gift to the audience for being so appreciative throughout the night. Whilst it's all over too quickly, the smiling faces leaving the venue are the highest compliment one can give to a band whose mission seems to be to get people high on the power of great music.

Last updated: 19/04/2018 06:17:59

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