Tires screeching, horns blasting, the Go! Team’s sophomore performance at Fujirock came hurtling out of the gates, barreling through the Red Marquee like a souped-up Buick down a back alley. The weekend’s heaviest rains pounded the Marquee’s roof as Ian Parton and his musical mish mash of a crew flailed through the opening chords of “The Power is On.”
Then it was time for Ninja to take over. This five-foot dynamo had charm and stamina to spare. In a mix of Japanese and English, she pushed and prodded the crowd while the band switched instruments volleyball-style: drummer to vocals, vocals to keys, keys to melodica and so on.
“Minna tanoshi deska [is everyone having fun?)” Ninja asks coyly (she probably had some coaching from Kai, the Japanese member of the group). The answer is apparent to everyone. At first, I thought that perhaps a large portion of the audience was there simply to avoid the rain, but to my surprise, most people seemed to know the words. Then again, that might have been Ninja’s doing. She frequently stopped to interact with the audience and prep them for the next chorus. This was audience participation at its finest.
“Onna no ko wa [Where are the Girls?]” she asked innocently, “Otoko no ko wa [and where are the boys?]” This battle of the sexes turned into one of the best call-and-response sessions I heard all weekend. So much of the Go! Team’s music comes from tape loops and samples, but here they filled it with more guitars and the sound of the crown. On this particular afternoon, we were all part of the same team.
photos by Ryota Mori
Reported by Jason Jenkins (2008.07.28 / 01:25)