Oregon Music News: Oregon’s all-genre music magazine since 2009

04/11/2018

The Go! Team with Skating Polly at the Doug Fir Lounge, Portland on 03/29/18

Review by SARAH PAYNE Photos by BENJAMIN MAH // The Go! Team is nothing but FUN – in all caps – infused with a nostalgic take on childhood summers spent playing double-dutch and cooling off in the sprinklers – a vibe that runs through the core of the band.

The Go! Team recently shook things up at the Doug Fir, filling the small venue with loud, colorful beats and a crowd full of dancing fans. They were introduced by alt-rock trio Skating Polly, who, although different in style, were a great opening choice to get the crowd musically pumped.

The trio, comprised of siblings Kelli and Kurtis Mayo, and step-sibling Peyton Bighorse, was formed in 2009 by Kelli and Peyton – who were 9 and 14, respectively, and already multi-instrumentalists. Although the two front women, now aged 18 and 23, may be and look young, their sound is anything but. Think Ida Maria and Elephone meet Bikini Kill and The Runaways, and together join the riot grrrl movement ready with something to say. Despite their youth, Mayo and Bighorse are pro at conjuring up that blend of hard and soft vocals that speak of frustration and of passion, the desire to be heard, and need for change.

On the flip-side, The Go! Team is nothing but FUN – in all caps – infused with a nostalgic take on childhood summers spent playing double-dutch and cooling off in the sprinklers – a vibe that runs through the core of the band, from their music to their stage presence. The six-piece band from Brighton, England, is helmed by the band’s five original members: Ian Parton, Ninja, Sam Dook, Angela "Maki" Won-Yin Mak and Simone Odaranile, who play a variety of instruments from drums, keyboard, bass and guitar to xylophone, pan flute, cowbell, banjo, trumpet and harmonica. Inspired by old school hip hop, electro, Bollywood music and double-dutch chants, the mix-match of The Go! Team’s musical influences, beats and instruments all just come together into a sound that is simultaneously sophisticated and simple.

The Go! Team played a 17-song set, covering their 18 years and five albums together, starting with “Flashlight Fight” from Proof of Youth and “Mayday” from the 2018 “Semicircle”, and ending with an encore of “She’s Got Guns” from Semicircle and “The Power is On” from Thunder, Lightning, Strike, the band’s first album. Crowd favorites included “Ladyflash,” “Huddle Formation,” “Keys to the City,” and “Semicircle Song,” during which front woman Ninja – after cautioning, “Portland, don’t be afraid of the microphone” – asked the front row fans to share their names and star signs.

If you haven’t seen The Go! Team live, you really should. It’s 17 songs-worth of upbeat, high-energy music and good feeling, of music that blasts its way in from your ears to the center of your feelings, making you feel that, hey, you’ve got this, you can do this, and sweeping you back to those childhood days when anything and everything was possible. There’s just something wonderful about Angela Mak’s voice that conjures up the dreams and ambitions you had when you were a kid, and something about Ninja’s energy that brings back that I-can-do-anything mentality.

Plus, the band themselves is entertaining, from Ninja’s antics with the audience to Ian Parton and Sam Dook’s instrument switching mid-song, and the way they all play off of each other on stage. You can tell they genuinely enjoy what they do and the sounds they create – and if the band is having that much fun, you can’t help but be swept away.

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