Austin, Texas, SXSW 2005
The Go! Team
Buffalo Billiards, Friday, March 18
The Go! Team's dance-rock mash made for one of SXSW 05's hottest tickets. The UK collective's 2004 LP, Thunder, Lightning, Strike, is a carnival of hip-hop, techno, indie rock, and Northern soul. Sadly, this intricate wall of groove was a bit underwhelming live, though it wasn't for lack of audience enthusiasm or lack of effort on the Go! Team's part. The band bounded onstage and dove right into instrumental sporting highlight reel anthem "Junior Kickstart," double drummers in full effect. Even as the levels were being adjusted, it was an auspicious start. The Go! Team's seamless mix of live and sampled instrumentation in real time was impressive, but bringing in vocals proved somewhat problematic. Despite her dynamic effort, Ninja's singing/rapping came off as an unnecessary afterthought that got in the way of the music. As it was, Ninja's role appeared to be a between-song cheerleader leading the crowd in multiple chants that started off cute and got progressively annoying as the set wore on. It wasn't awful, but the time spent standing in line to see the Go! Team seemed wasted in retrospect. Don't let that dissuade you from picking up their wonderfully exuberant album, though.