Review: Sports Team at The Joiners, Southampton

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80%
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Bouncy

Sports Team are bringing something fresh and exciting to the alternative music scene and reminding us of why guitar bands work.

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“I haven’t seen The Joiners bouncing like that for a long time” were the words of one of the more seasoned crowd members as the gig goers exited the venue, smiles on faces and sweat on brows. The Joiners have had a very busy weekend, selling out the venue’s 200-person capacity on Saturday (for Easy Life) and Sunday night (for Sports Team). It’s no wonder both these nights were sold out with both bands bringing something fresh and exciting to the alternative music scene with Sports Team in particular reminding us of why guitar bands work. Fun fact: at one point the band had four lead guitarists!

The west-London based band entered the vivified stage with ornaments on amps and floral arrangements surrounding guitar and microphone stands. We had just seen Walt Disco absolutely rock the stage, with a brilliant light show and huge energy from the main singer. The stage did, however, look a little crowded for the new-wave infused indie pop 6-piece. Sports Team have enough members for a volleyball team (I’ll let you work that out) so the stage was even more packed, much like the venue, but nevertheless, all were ready for a show.

The lead singer, Alex Rice, entered the stage last, dressed in all white trousers, t-shirt and safari hat, which he placed on the head of a crowd member early on in the set, much to their delight. Rice warned the crowd that he had lost his voice prior to attempting to hit a high note on a brief stripped back interlude for the first song ‘Camel Crew’. The incredibly charismatic front man chuckled when he missed the note, guitars and drums now entered the song and the place began to bounce. Rice’s vocals were as crisp as the recording’s, despite him asking the crowd to borrow their voices, which they certainly offered up!

Sifting through established hits such as ‘M5’ and ‘Kutcher’, alongside newer tracks off of the recently released Keep Walking! EP, the band kept a Sunday night very lively for the entirety of their (roughly) 45-minute set. “We don’t do encore’s, we’re not good enough for that”, Rice said, as Walt Disco were invited up to the stage to dance with the band for ‘Stanton’, Sports Team’s final song. I mustn’t fail to mention the Sports Team keyboardist, Ben Mack, who amongst the dancing, moshing and stage dives, remained deadpan, failing to crack even a half smile to the audience throughout the entire set. Both amusing and perplexing. As the band exited the stage to the sound of Robbie William’s ‘Angels’, Rice could not resist running back on stage to sing to and with the crowd, semi-breaking the no-encore rule in the name of giving the people what they want.

Sports Team are currently touring the UK with upcoming gigs in Oxford, Leicester, Liverpool, Sheffield and Manchester. You can also catch them this summer at festivals all over the UK including Truck festival and Reading & Leeds.

Check out the music video for ‘M5’ below.

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