November 2, 2007
Several months ago, I downloaded a Go! Team single from iTunes as part of the Facebook Samplers. Junior Kickstart was a good instrumental track with a catchy melody and was my introduction to this band, whose style Wikipedia describes as “a mixture of action theme songs, cheerleader chants, guitars and early hip hop, with a hint of ’70s funk”.
Fast forward to about a month ago, and Ian recommends to me to download their new album Proof of Youth, which I did. I took a listen, but for some reason everything sounded lossy, as if it was a not-so-good MP3-encoding. Rather than re-download the whole thing, I went out and bought their album. That is the best DRM ever.
The Go! Team, in my opinion, is what Arcade Fire should be — a high-energy band with fun, catchy melodies. I’m kind of disappointed with Arcade Fire, because even with all the hype, they write really depressing songs which kinds of puts a hamper on their performance regardless of the tempo and drumming. The Go! Team is something that you can listen to when you want to feel pumped and excited about something.
Last night, I went with Ian and a couple of his friends to the Phoenix to see Go! Team. Originally the show was supposed to be on Hallowe’en at the Opera House, which would have been amazingly cool, but for unknown reasons it was moved. Actually, I didn’t know the date had changed until I asked what was happening on Wednesday, and Ian was like uhhh it’s not on Wednesday anymore. Good to know, because I had wanted to go to St John Passion last night too.
The tickets said 8, we arrived on time and scored great seats on the balcony which was direct centre to the stage. At something like 9:20, Spiral Beach came on and played their set. These guys (and 1 girl) looked like they were still in high school! I didn’t like their music, but apparently many in the crowd were familiar with them and liked it. I guess it was because they too were young (all-ages show), because when we left our seats to go down to the front of the stage for Go! Team we really felt out of place.
I also noticed a lot of Asian people, which was weird because usually at these events I stick out like a sore thumb (because I too am an Asian). The reason was clear when Go! Team came on stage at about 10:30, because there were two Japanese people in the band. There were also a couple of generic guys on guitar and “Ninja” was the lead vocalist. I thought the performance was great, and for the most part it was due to Ninja. She didn’t seem too effective at working the crowd, but it sounded amazing when she did her fast raps (much more effective live than the muted version on the disc) and her dancing represented the energy of the band.
They played a mixture of songs from their first and second albums, I could tell because I only know Junior Kickstart from their first one; and switched up the instruments quite a bit. One thing that I found severely lacking was that there was never anyone on synths/samples (or trumpets). Their music is heavy with samples (and trumpets) which just seemed to magically appear at the right time. Instead they had 3 or 4 guitars and 2 drum kits. I don’t even know what the guitars were doing half the time. One of the Japanese girls also had a couple of songs, but I found them weak mostly because she seemed shy and unsure of herself. She definitely didn’t have the stage presence of Ninja. Ninja was able to get the crowd into it, and combined with the high-energy music, the place was shaking. Literally. The floor was shaking as everyone was jumping in time with the music and a couple of thoughts went through my head:
- Hmm…this is what an earthquake feels like.
- Is concrete really supposed to go up and down like this?
- I hope this isn’t a standing wave…
Fortunately the floor didn’t collapse and I made it out alive to tell you about what a great show it was!