Date: April 10, 2011
City: Toronto, ON
Venue: The Opera House
Never in my concert attending history have I ever witnessed a show containing such joyful exuberance as the one I witnessed Sunday night. Bouncing and gyrating around as if they were children in the midst of a sugar rush, The Go! Team energetically blasted through seventeen songs with dynamic and sonic precision. For a band that was meant to be jet lagged (this was the first stop on their North American Tour), it wasn’t readily apparent.
It was definitely a much needed boost to an evening that was, at first, bordering on audience indifference. Prior to the band’s arrival, the crowd appeared to be a restless bunch. Not really buying into what the opening acts were selling, the spectators were simply listless observers for the first little bit. But that all changed when Team took the stage. With a whirlwind of ferocious velocity, the band opened up with the highly energetic “T.O.R.N.A.D.O.”, and immediately won the crowd over.
Playing nine songs off their latest record, the band also performed such past hits as “Huddle Formation”, “Flashlight Fight” and “The Power is On” (perhaps the best sounding song of the evening) which further adjusted the crowd’s demeanours. When they proceeded to introduce the older songs, the audience cried out with jubilant enthusiasm, and proceeded to dance with passionate delight.
Possibly adding to their excitement was an environment that contained unlimited musical instrumentation. The Opera House is not a large venue by any means, but the stage still contained two side-by-side drum sets, numerous styles of guitars (including a banjo), a xylophone, a keyboard, a Jamaican steel drum, and even a typewriter that was put to interesting use.
By exhibiting their musical creativity, the sextet made it apparent that they were committed to entertaining by any means necessary. In fact, the moments in between songs were as interesting as the songs themselves. During some of the interludes, the band would have to alter their physical positioning onstage with other members and change up their instruments to best fit their particular musical abilities. For instance, guitarist Sam Dook would deviate his time between bass, banjo, drums and tambourine, while keyboardist Kaori Tsuchida would transition from vocals to tambourine to bass and electric guitar. It was actually quite intriguing to watch them manoeuvre amongst the stage and around one another as if it were a game of touch football.
Without slighting any of the other members (they were all passionate performers), the true attention grabber of the night was definitely lead vocalist Ninja. Flavoured with a raw musical talent that radiated power, sexiness and charisma, her very presence on stage hypnotically transcended the audience. Though, whether she was performing scissor kicks, jumping jacks or skipping over the wire of her microphone (she executed all of these feats during the show), she was always mindful never to overshadow the rest of the band. Her performance was an exhilarating centre-piece but it was always in keeping with what was important for the show. This is the true mark of a lead singer.
As impressed as I always have been with The Go! Team’s albums, their live performance far exceeded my expectations, and allowed me to appreciate them on an entirely new level.