Ever miss those pep rallies back at your high school? I sure as hell don’t. And I think a lot of my friends could say the same thing. After all, members of the administration patrolled the school grounds on a golf cart before and during rallies in an effort to catch escaping students. That wouldn’t be happening if people wanted to be there, and, let’s be real, even when I took the stage to play in drumline shows to my peers; it was still a big fat no. But what if those pep rallies were like the ones you saw in Disney channel original movies? You know, the rallies that were more like endless variety shows with energy, dancing and, dare I say it, fun?
It’s really hard to put The Go! Team in a genre, they flow all over the place. The pep rally analogy is the closest thing I could come up with. Their music touches on indie pop, indie rock, cheerleading, double Dutch chants, hip-hop and shredding guitar solos. And let’s be clear here, this is a rally you want to be at. The energy is there, every song is its own distinct set, and the show is just plain fun. Every band member wants to be there, and the audience did too. The Turf Club was pretty packed for a show during the 1st snowstorm of the annual Minnesotan third winter.
The Go! Team themselves are not Americans. They actually hail from Brighton, England. Their band had humble beginnings as a project that started in the lead songwriter’s (Ian Parton) parent’s kitchen. From there, their debut album Thunder, Lightning, Strike made the rounds across commercials, the UK charts and the pre-Youtube internet. I actually discovered The Go! Team back in middle school watching comedy sketch videos that you had to download from OldeEnglish.com, and here I am, 13 years later, photographing and writing about a show.
After their initial offering, their music continued to keep that indie rock, variety show vibe as the tracks kept on coming. Their tour is in support of their latest offering, SEMICIRCLE, which keeps the same Double Dutch, pep rally vibes but with a little more indie pop thrown in. Their set list drew slightly more music from the new album, but they also played old favorites like “Grip Like a Vice” and “The Power Is On.”
Like I said before, each song was its own little set. Songs featured whistles, tambourines, harmonicas, recorders, an old cordless phone, and what seemed like an endless stream of changing guitars. I think it was the most I have ever seen a tour manager work a show, he was setting something up on nearly every transition. He did get a well-deserved round of applause at the end of the set though.
The energy of the whole group was also simply incredible. Ninja, their lead singer, and others leaped around the stage doing mid-air splits and generally going absolutely crazy. They kept the crowd super engaged and even asked everyone in the front row their names and horoscopes, then had them recite them to the beat. (My name is Chris and I’m a Cancer by the way. In the words of Ninja: “Don’t be afraid of the microphone, St. Paul!”)
I loved the show. Going in I was tired and apathetic, butI left energized and ready to go (! Team). It was kind of like what a pep rally is supposed to do, right?
The Go! Team has stayed relatively under the radar of the last 18 years of existence. Perhaps because of this, I think they’ve really been able to foster a style all their own, and their music is just like their shows: a hodgepodge indie pop variety. They don’t come to the Twin Cities often, but when they do, I would absolutely give the Go! Team a go. Let them be the pep rally you wish you had.