Fun and games from Go! Team at Sinclair
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CAMBRIDGE — If looks could kill, then the Go! Team would have slain more than 400 fans at the Sinclair on Friday night simply by strutting out on stage. Featuring four strikingly different yet equally fit young women and two geeky white guys, including tousle-haired founder Ian Parton, the English group resembled a manga fantasy of supercool multicultural pop — a vision that perhaps no sound could quite match.
A dozen years ago, Parton released the Go! Team's debut as essentially a solo project of mixed samples and beats, only later putting together a band to perform his noisy and upbeat concoctions onstage. The group then recorded two acclaimed albums before Parton returned to his solo ways in 2015 for "The Scene Between," which features obscure female guest vocalists on exuberantly distorted dream pop, something like My Bloody Valentine meets the Shangri-Las.
For the Go! Team's first US tour in five years (which ended in Boston because of the weekend storm), Parton tried to honor his group's various phases by splitting front duties between an original member, the sensational rapper Ninja (born Nkechi Ka Egenamba), and new guitarist-vocalist-melodica player Maki (also known as Angela Won-Yin Mak).
Dressed in white short shorts and a striped halter top, Ninja kicked off the show with "The Power Is On," from the group's debut, dancing and rapping with equal aplomb. Unfortunately, as with so much live hip-hop, the backing music just sounded canned, and the two drummers and guitarists banged away as if on props. The mix improved when Maki stepped forward to sing the new album's masterful title track, followed by the bubbling "Walking the Jetstream." But despite her shimmering silver dress and arresting blond tresses, Maki lacked the vocal command and stage presence to keep the bubbles aloft.
So go the limitations of pop that puts concept first. Still, the 75-minute set was never less than fun, and it kicked into elation when Ninja laid into superb old hits such as "Grip Like a Vice" and "Huddle Formation." Earlier, Go! Team collaborator Annabelle Cazes joined a drummer to show off her strange prowess on Casio and glockenspiel as Glockabelle. Boston's Hands and Knees opened with a funny, vibrant mix of punk and country that needed no concept beyond "let's rock."
THE GO! TEAM
With Glockabelle, Hands and Knees
At The Sinclair, Friday