Monday, November 16, 2009

Live Review: THE GO! TEAM, THE CRAYON FIELDS

Monday, January 14, 2008 
The Hi Fi Bar

Holy shit. Seriously, if you weren't there and you're reading this, know better for next time because this was THE most incredibly draining and exciting, spectacularly energetic and exuberant show since the last Go! Team gig in January 2006. If you can recall the experience of going on a rollercoaster as a child and feeling a little overexcited and nauseous at the end but wanting desperately to go again, only being forced to go 16 times, this gig is something like that. Hotter than a five-day sweat lodge in the outback, the crowd was rendered one tightly bound sea of sweat with some people floating in it - happy faces, waving arms and bouncing feet. The Go! Team marshal every youthful energetic urge present in the room and channel it directly back at us, 16 times over. Singer/rapper/aerobic-obsessive Ninja (though an acquired taste to some, particularly those who miss the unreproducible textures of their modern-classic debut Thunder Lightning Strike) is on form throughout the show, never missing a beat - even when using the microphone lead as a skipping rope or faking a broken leg. Her energy is matched by every member, though drummer Chi Fukami Taylor's occasional gentle lead-vocal forays are essential respites from the breakneck pace of the set and her A Version Of Myself is a crowd favourite. Guitarist Kaori Tsuchida can barely keep from smiling the entire set, mirroring many audience members as she hoes into her guitar. It was interesting to note an increased presence of Go! Team inventor Ian Parton, who has never seemed to be having more fun. Double kit action ensures the beats are upfront, upfront of the stage being the place the guys in the band love to dramatically jump to with dynamic shifts. Huddle Formation, Grip Like A Vice and the closing Keys To The City edge above other songs to become a highlight through sheer intensity, the last wringing all skerrick of energy from aching muscles in already spent bodies and ensuring THIS is the new yardstick by which exclamation marks in band names are measured.

So well do they achieve what they set out to do, exceed expectations and then flatten any hope of objective assessment through sheer force of positive will, funk beats, bouncing melodies and guitar squalls, this would already one of the best gigs of recent years, but what puts this show over the line and makes it such a resounding winner is the support set from The Crayon Fields. Like the proverbial calm before the storm and featuring almost entirely new songs (one, Birds Of Paradise hearteningly dedicated to Guy Blackman) The Crayon Fields quietly enthrall what should have been a very tough crowd. With a lot more lead guitar lines, less woodwind and xylophone, this set shows their new material is less likely to float by you as grab your attention and keep it, the songs sounding less adorned and more focussed and arresting because of it. An exciting set from one of our very finest bands and a great choice for opening act at a gig that will likely only be topped by the next Go! Team show.


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