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POP MUSIC

-- Catherine P. Lewis

The Go! Team

"The time has come for the Go! Team to find out what you Americans are all about!" declared a not-at-all-out-of-breath Ninja, the sinewy MC of the Go! Team, late in the (mostly) British hip-pop collective's 70-minute workout at the 9:30 club Tuesday night. She had already achieved the rare feat of inciting a 9:30 crowd to dance; what more could she want? Answer: More, faster, wilder dancing. Many in attendance seemed to have overflowed from the High Heel Race on 17th Street, contributing to the gig's carnivalesque atmosphere.

But the surreal vibe came mostly from the music, an ever-accelerating aural blur that piled sextuple-Dutch loops of playground chants atop '70s cop-movie horns (played on keyboards), which was layered over the traditional rock-combo instrumentation with the odd recorder or banjo thrown into the mix.

The Team's six-strong, multinational touring lineup must be exactly what founder Ian Parton was imagining as he Pro-Tooled together their debut album, "Thunder, Lightning, Strike," in his Brighton bedroom a few years ago: Two drummers, two guitarists, a bassist, all swapping instruments periodically just, you know, because. He couldn't have banked on finding a frontwoman like Ninja -- essentially Angela-Bassett-as-Tina-Turner-as-high-school-gym-coach. (Bassett because she can't sing like Tina, but she sure can shout.) Parton seems to relish his man-behind-the-curtain role: Onstage, he ceded the spotlight to Ninja and Japanese guitarist-vocalist Kaori Tsuchida, surely for the best.

As with the group's two albums, the show offered up the musical equivalent of Pixy Stix, sweet but insubstantial. By the closing one-two punch of "Doing It Right" and "Titantic Vandalism," Halloween had arrived, granting us all license to make a meal of the candy we'd been served.

-- Chris Klimek


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