April 21st, 2011 | Live reviews

The Go! Team’s set as part of Check Yo Ponytail 2 at the Echoplex proved The Go! Team are not some sort of mid-2000s (so long ago!) blog-rock-nostalgia band. Seen live, what can be dismissed as novelty clearly reveals itself to be the work of an immensely talented and energetic band. Frontwoman Ninja probably has the best abs this side of janet.-era Janet Jackson, and easily as much charisma. Her playful interactions with audience members dominated the show, dodging a horny fan or two who ran up on stage to kiss her and teaching a mid-sized audience the lyrics to the band’s shout-along choruses (remember “Friendship Update’s” “Keep banging on the door, ’cause we can’t hear a thing/Keep shutting down the power, ’cause we can always sing”? Super fun!).

For some reason, the band’s latest, Rolling Blackouts, hasn’t captured as much attention as it should have, especially considering the improvement over the band’s second album, when it seemed they were still transitioning from being Ian Parton’s solo project into a full band. They trotted out the new album’s best tracks and left out no detail, from “Secretary Song’s” typewriter tapping to “Yosemite Theme’s” banjo and “Back Like 8 Track’s” steel drum. Diminutive drummer Chi Fukami Taylor came out from behind her kit to pull a Moe Tucker and lend her vocals to the adorable “Ready To Go Steady,” and while sunshine pop songs “Secretary Song” and “Buy Nothing Day” didn’t have their guest vocalists (Deerhoof’s Satomi Matsuzaki and Best Coast’s Bethany Cosentino, respectively), multi-instrumentalist Kaori Tsuchida filled in with comparable charm, not missing a beat.

The most impressive thing about The Go! Team’s live show is how they are able switch instruments and vocalists on nearly every song quickly and without losing an ounce of their jump-kicking energy or tripping over any lose wires or guitars (OK, so Taylor actually did trip at one point). This is not to mention the fact that they’re largely able to recreate the hip-hop-meets-J-pop-meets-noise-rock-meets-Stomp-the-Yard of their recorded material, and without losing much of its measured layering. Even if they hadn’t played their “hits,” so to speak (“Bottle Rocket” and “The Power Is On,” which they did, smashingly), it would have been a done deal.

—Billy Gil