Wednesday, May 11, 2011
We saw the Go-Team last night at the Corner and they were exceptional.
The months leading up to last night, as far as a G-T show was concerned, was like an angsty dream, as I kept forgetting to buy tickets and then, once I had bought tickets, I kept forgetting the show was on and didn’t remember until midway through the day yesterday. Tuesday night is actually a better night for me than most – I am generally a spent force by Friday, even Thursday – but for some reason it just never stuck in my mind or I couldn’t take it seriously. Then I remembered properly and factored it in.
Once it was factored, I realized I was actually really looking forward to seeing something different from the usual kind of thing I saw when it came to bands, which is almost always friends’ bands, friends of friends’ bands, or ‘who they fuck do they think they are’. I don’t know anyone aside from me who likes the Go Team (Mia would concede the songs were catchy, so she is more in that ballpark than anyone else I know, but she was not really a fan). I had no idea who would be there. That was fine, I was relishing the unknownness.
It comes in the context which I probably spend too much time railing against, most recent manifestation of which was a work drinks where talk unfortunately turned to music, at which I had a little rant re: the recent Gang of Four tour and the more recent use, which I had only just seen a day or so before, of a Gang of Four tune in a TV ad, from an album which I had bought 30 years ago along with, I guess, about 3 or 400 other Australians. It’s a great album and everyone should hear it who likes that kind of thing, but the time, as far as I’m concerned, to revel in that stuff and the people who recorded that album is not now. Musical sentimentality is a crock. No two ways about it. The thing that made bands of 30 years ago good is now gone.
On the way to the Corner we had dinner at Raffles (note to self and you: don’t get the vegetable curry if you are hoping to experiment away from the usual laksa, because it’s just the laksa without noodles) and then a beer at the Great Britain. At that point I said to Mia I thought there was every chance the night could even be inspiring (I was really jinxing everything let’s face it). I was about as pumped as I could be, though fortunately no-one noticed (and that is not very pumped).
Once there waiting for the G-T to come on, I asked Mia what the best show she ever saw at the Corner was. She mentioned Bailter Space, Pere Ubu and Palace. I don’t think I was there for the first of these (but I think I saw BS at the Punters - ?) and I agree PU were brilliant and Palace was just an incredible show. I also mentioned Love (which was sadly a reunion show, and I despise those, but still pretty fine), Sleater Kinney, Low, and Operator Please. I mentioned Low but in truth I don’t rate them at all – I never understood the appeal, sorry Low, why should you care. I am sure we’ve seen a hundred other acts at the Corner but that was what we could remember off the cuff. Also, I saw Ian Moss at the Corner once and that was an amazing show, it has to be said.
Anyway with the G-T I was really uncertain of what to expect. I knew that their records were kind of made to the auteur model, a la Tame Impala or… Pet Sounds Beach Boys? I also ‘knew’ because I read it online that their live shows were kind of like a separate strand to what they did, not an attempt to replicate the records. I was very fine with that. But while I had long enjoyed those records, whatever else I’d read about them online or wherever it had been very difficult to make that information stick. So I was contentedly in the dark.
The curtains parted and there were six people onstage, two drummers, two guitars-bass and keyboards no-one was playing, and it just went into an onslaught. The whole thing was a barrage. (I didn’t realise how loud it was, at all, until it was over, and all I could hear sounded like it was being transmitted on a dodgy shortwave radio inside a copper box. I think it’s getting better…). The instant they started playing, I realized, I love this band – they have amazing songs and now I appreciate they are really stylish and great fun! They swapped instruments constantly – I don’t think they played one song in the same configuration, certainly not consecutively. Three of them (only the women) sang. There was clearly something (mainly keyboard lines I guess) being triggered, probably by a drum machine/click track, but everyone was totally in synch and tight in the messiest way imaginable.
I don’t know. Maybe there are a lot of bands like this, and I’m just stuck in the ghetto of the kind of worthy dross I mentioned above. I never really expect a band to put on a visual show, and in fact barring the jumping around of Ninja, who sang most of the G-T’s songs (she was the only one not on stage all the time, though, oddly) the G-T were concentrating on playing like a rock band, but it gelled extremely well, it sounded amazing, and it was that rare, rare occasion where a show ended and I was like, already? Because most of the time, shows end and I’m like, at last!!! Recently I was at a show where the band, who I will not name but they had one, ended their set with a monotonous dirge wherein I am sure they took pleasure in the unrelenting appalling extreme attenuatedness of the song, that always seemed about to stop and then went into another cycle of torpor. It was the musical equivalent of a taunt: you have to endure this not because it’s our art or we like it either but just because you know us or know people who know us and you’re stuck here out of obligation and there’s nothing you can do about it, you have to hear this ghastly racket specifically calculated to distress you.
So after the G-T I said to Mia, that was actually probably quite inspiring. If nothing else, it inspired me to walk out on the next glum, dull, ponderous piece of crap indie nonsense I am exposed to, and the rest thereafter if I have any gumption. That’s a revelation.