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The Go Team / Caribou / The Suzan, (The Ritz, Manchester), 13 September 2007


ImageAfter seeing old faves like Julian Cope, The Only Ones and The Damned recently, I jumped at the chance of seeing the Go Team even though I only had a passing knowledge of them. I just figured that it'd be nice to see a band who had members who were under the age of seventy and to, well, get down, er, wid da kidz.


First up though were The Suzan, an all-girl Japanese band in black and white tops, comprising of two rather attractive young ladies and two who, to put it crudely, had presumably also eaten the other members pies. Combining the riffs of The 5678's and the sense of fun of PINE AM - OK, that's my knowledge of all-girl Japanese bands exhausted! - they were great fun. This was a Japanese take on Monkees-style 60's pop, with the odd bit of New Rose-like drumming thrown in for good measure. They maybe played on a bit too long but one of the closing tracks High Or Low was, along with an earlier one called Mellow Music, definitely one of highlights. As you may have guessed, I liked them. Indeed, it was hard to watch them without having a whopping big smile on your face.


ImageNext on was Caribou which was a nice surprise as I didn't know they were on the bill. To be perfectly honest I didn't recognize them at first - they're now a four piece and the bassist has developed something of a 60's Ray Davies look. I did, however, rather stupidly spend the first number thinking 'this band have been listening to Caribou' as the two drummers pounded away in unison. I even thought the singer looks like Dan Snaith. Doh! But the duel vocals on that opener didn't sound like Caribou, and to be truthful didn't quite work although I couldn't help thinking that this piece of psychedelic pop would sound good on record. From then on, however, they never looked back in a set showing the band moving in a slightly different direction - there were definitely shades of 60's psychedelia, and there was one number where the bassists vocals brought to mind the fragility of Deserters Song-era Mercury Rev. They mightn't have been as great as they were when I saw them in a North Wales basement pub a couple of years ago, but the duel drumming battles later on gave me goosebumps and their Krautrock moments at the end were, quite simply, immense.


So after The Suzan and Caribou, it didn't really matter what the Go Team were like to be honest- I'd had a great night already. Luckily though, they didn't disappoint either. What an energetic crew! Musicians constantly changing instruments, the bassist Jamie Bell playing those sinewy basslines to match his sinewy arms, whilst lead singer, Ninja, bounced around with the zeal (and bossiness!) of a fitness instructor. It wasn't just her bouncing around, mind - the audience were too, assisted by that magnificently sprung dancefloor in the apparently 'world famous' Ritz. ImageNinja may not have the greatest voice - she basically yells out the lyrics Sgt Major style, but that's kind of missing the point. This is a band that has previously been described as Sonic Youth meets the Jackson Five, and it's a party on stage, interrupted only when the drummer came to the front to sing an acoustic number in the style of the Velvets Sticking With You. The recent single, Grip Like A Vice, went down well but highlights were a funky Junior Kickstart and the former 45, Bottle Rocket, but then again they're my two favourite GT tracks. After the latter, they could probably have finished as far as I was concerned as there is only so much fun a man in his forties can have bouncing around on a dancefloor filled with people half his age, but the encore - Doing It Right and Ladyflash - was great.


So all in all, a good night, where - Caribou's intensity apart - the emphasis was on fun.


Author: Keith Astbury