The Go! Team – Tickets – The Casbah – San Diego – San Diego, CA – March 25th, 2018

The Go! Team

Casbah presents

The Go! Team

Skating Polly

Sun, March 25, 2018

Doors: 8:30 pm / Show: 9:30 pm

The Casbah - San Diego

San Diego, CA


This event is 21 and over

The Go! Team
The Go! Team
The Go! Team have always been cheerleaders for a better world – an outpouring of collective joy in the face of small-mindedness and dismal careerism. They rejoice in the unifying urges and the chance encounters between cultures that lead to something new. They’re a band who still have faith in the power of music to make things better. Now more than ever, we need The Go! Team.
It’s no secret that The Go! Team is the brainchild of one man, Brighton-based melody obsessive Ian Parton. But its membership has never been exclusive: at one time or another, The Go! Team has included on its squad-sheet everyone from Deerhoof to Chuck D to a legion of undiscovered Soundcloud singers. Unlike the group’s previous album, 2015’s The Scene Between – which was essentially a solo project, following the dissolution of the previous Go! Team lineup – Ian began work on their fifth album SEMICIRCLE with the vital input of current live players Simone Odaranile (drums) and Angela ‘Maki’ Won-Yin Mak (vocals), plus original Team members Sam Dook (guitar) and Ninja (irrepressible rapping).
In his head was the idea of a school marching band gone rogue, chucking away their sheet music to blast out Northern soul stompers or Japanese indie-pop swooners or old-school hip-hop jams. “I like the swing and the toughness of marching bands, the physicality of feeling a beater walloping a bass drum,” explains Ian, “but I wanted to reclaim them from patriotic or sporty associations. That was the kick-off for this record.” Yet his extensive sample library could only take him so far. In order to fully realise his vision he knew he had to reach out, to entice a group of unlikely new collaborators into The Go! Team fold.
So Ian made a pilgrimage to Detroit – city of Motown and The Stooges, of musical (and actual) revolution – where he hooked up with The Detroit Youth Choir. Their age was key; he didn’t want kids (too twee) but nor he did he want adults, with all their emotional baggage and wariness and tendency to over-sing. Equally he wanted to avoid the religious connotations of a church or gospel choir. “I’ve always had a thing for gang vocals and group singing, particularly the roughness of community choirs,” says Ian. “Normally they might be singing showtunes or whatever, but I like the idea of getting people to do something they wouldn’t normally do. I like making things happen that wouldn’t otherwise happen. It’s always a gamble, but in this case it paid off.”
The sessions were so inspiring that they came to define the album. The choir’s ebullient chanting is all over the opening track ‘Mayday’, a morse-code-inspired soul belter about a love emergency, in the proud lineage of ‘Rescue Me’ and ‘SOS’. They bring the album to a rousing, defiant conclusion on ‘Getting Back Up’. In between, they reveal a little more about themselves on the heartwarming ‘Semicircle Song’. When Ian needed a lo-fi R&B vocal for ‘Chain Link Fence’ – kooky and soulful but not slick or drenched in melisma – he approached a Detroit high school. “I love the idea of recording people who wouldn’t think of themselves as singers, who perhaps have never been recorded before.”
But this being a Go! Team record, where routine is outlawed, there are a multitude of other voices to be heard, sometimes in the course of the same song. Best-known among them is probably Utrecht indie-rocker Annelotte de Graaf AKA Amber Arcades, whose Dutch-accented English lends a unique flavour to ‘Plans Are A Dream U Organise’. Previous collaborator Julie Margat AKA Lispector delivers ‘Hey!’’s breathy French interlude. And sassy girl group kiss-off ‘The Answer’s No – Now What’s The Question’ is fronted by Houston-based Darenda Weaver, a Texan Mod that Ian found on Bandcamp.
The band’s own Maki helms ‘If There’s One Thing You Should Know’ with panache, and of course no Go! Team record would be complete without an appearance from Ninja, who unleashes a volley of verbal stingers on ‘She Got Guns’. Meanwhile, the charmingly unaffected rapping on ‘All The Way Live’ is sampled from a 1983 “after-school hip-hop project” Ian found on one of his epic crate-digging adventures. He considered asking a contemporary rapper to re-record it, but decided it would be impossible for anyone to unlearn 35 years of hip-hop history. Capturing those moments of authentic joy, unburdened by cynicism and ambition, is what SEMICIRCLE is all about.
In keeping with the album’s “marching band” theme, Ian stacked up sousaphones, glockenspiels and steel drums, mic’ing them all from a distance to recreate that gymnasium sound. The effect is a kaleidoscopic cacophony, almost as if the sound itself is bent and refracted in the metallic curves of a trumpet, comforting and intoxicating at the same time. “It’s recognisable as a Go! Team record but it takes the sound to a new place.”
Although SEMICIRCLE isn’t bogged down in polemical responses to the issues of the day, there are still some valuable life lessons to be gleaned. Ian is keen to emphasise that the vibrant utopia he and his cohorts have conjured up on their fifth album is not an escapist fantasy but a potentially achievable goal. “It’s about reminding yourself of the good things in life,” says Ian. “We don’t want to be dumbly optimistic and say, ‘Hey, isn’t everything great!’ but there’s something to be said for just getting on with it, for getting organised and not letting the fuckers get you down. Party for your right to fight!”
As always, it’s good to know The Go! Team are on your side.
Skating Polly
Skating Polly
There's a difficult to describe yet timeless quality to certain songs that transcends genre or era. It's something that you can't fake or contrive and it'swhat lies at the core of Skating Polly's music. The duo of guitarist/vocalist Kelli Mayo and drummer Peyton Bighorse formed in Oklahoma in 2009 when Mayo's father began dating Bighorse's mother and the duo started writing music together on instruments they inherited from their parents. They recorded their debut album Taking Over The World in 2010 and instantly achieved acclaim from underground music icons like X's Exene Cervenka (who produced 2013's Lost Wonderfuls and Beat Happening's Calvin Johnson (who produced 2014's Fuzz Steliacoom.) After the release of 2016's The Big Fit, the group realized another one of their musical dreams when Veruca Salt's co-frontwomen Louise Post and Nina Gordon reached out and said they wanted to work with the band.

“I guess a couple of people showed them our music and the next thing we knew we were flying down to Los Angeles for a writing session with Nina and Louise,” Mayo recalls. Writing with the alternative icons went so well that the foursome decided to fully flush out the song they had worked on as well as a couple of new tracks and the end result is the three-song New Trick EP. “Everything just came together the best way we could possibly imagine,” Mayo continues. Even though the duo weren't used to writing with outside collaborators, things instantly gelled between the foursome, a fact evidenced on these songs. “Nina and Louise really helped us step outside of our usual way of doing things and suddenly we were breaking all of these songwriting rules that we didn't even know that we had,” Mayo adds. “At the same time we were breaking all of their songwriting rules and I feel like we came up with something totally different than what any of us had created in the past.”

Produced and mixed by Brad Wood (Liz Phair, Sunny Day Real Estate) the result is a fully formed collection of songs that sees Skating Polly pushing the boundaries of their sound without losing sight of the playful dynamic of the band that has endeared them to fans all over the world. The EP sets the tone out of the gate with the fuzzed-out pop sheen of “Louder In Outer Space,” takes on a moody, harmony-rich bent on the melodically minded “Hail Mary” and culminates with “Black Sky,” an instantly memorable song that shows that Skating Polly doesn't need distortion or fancy studio trickery in order to craft something that's instantly memorable. “Nina and Louise have an excellent knack for harmony and layers and every time we'd start to record the four of us – five if you include Brad's clever input – kept coming out with more subtle pieces to add,” Mayo says. “If you listen closely there's a lot of layers to every song that translated in a very dynamic way as opposed to being overproduced.”

Admittedly the female-driven alternative acts that inspired the band such as Veruca Salt, The Breeders, L7 and Babes In Toyland (the later of whom Skating Polly toured with in Europe) aren't typical reference points for most of today's up-and-coming acts, but maybe they should be. “I think the thing that a lot of those bands have that Peyton and myself love is that they can be really aggressive and loud while also being super melodic,” Mayo explains. “This was the first time we were able to work as a full band and I think it really just opened up this new level for Skating Polly in the sense that we were able to add other elements and make things sound bigger than they had in the past,” Bighorse adds. In that spirit the band recently added Mayo's brother Kurtis who will be joining them on drums... but in typical Skating Polly fashion there will be plenty of instrument-swapping between all three members during their live performances.

Speaking of live shows, Skating Polly really need to be seen in a club to fully grasp what makes them so special. “It can get pretty chaotic when we're playing; people have said it feels like it could fall apart at any moment but in a good way,” Bighorse says with a laugh. “We try to make our music honest and engaging and I think that's what drew us to people like Nina and Louise; we want to pay homage to the acts that we love while still making sure that it always sounds like Skating Polly,” Mayo explains. “We really try to make the songs the focus instead of showing off or trying to flaunt our musical abilities,” adds Bighorse – and that honesty and optimism is why both legendary musical figures as well as hardcore fans have gravitated toward Skating Polly's music. The New Trick EP is an important step in a collective musical journey that's almost a decade in the making yet is still only getting started. What comes next is anybody's guess.
Venue Information:
The Casbah - San Diego
2501 Kettner Blvd.
San Diego, CA, 92101