Review: Sports Team at The Loft, Southampton

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Rowdy!

Sports Team moved the floor at The Loft with their bouncy brand of indie

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West London-based indie band Sports Team certainly know how to have fun. No security, that’s cool. Eager members of the audience crowd surfing every five minutes, not a problem. Hell, get them up on stage, let them sing into the mic and make sure everyone has a great time. That’s what you’re guaranteed when you go to see this scintillating sextet. Sports Team gave a pulse to the dance floor at The Loft, causing the BPM to rise and then resuscitating track after track after track… Relentless!

Entering the stage one by one following a bit of Robbie Williams, just to get the crowd in the mood, the band built up opening tune ‘Margate’ instrument by instrument. The fast-paced guitar riff jeering up the crowd who began to bounce, shaking the entire room. For all their quintessentially British self-deprecation the band play their instruments with flair and cheek to boot. Perhaps the cheekiest of them all is lead singer Alex Rice who teases the crowd with his simultaneously flirty and rowdy schtick. Within the confines of a tiny stage with 5 other band members, he managed to throw himself about a fair bit. Some parts he played the pin-up, others as Ian Curtis reincarnated. At times he seemed a man on the edge and at others, it would just be him having a laugh on stage with his mates. His showmanship knows no bounds, but he couldn’t do it without the rest of his sporting team.

Sports Team’s new vision of indie music may be more confrontational, with songs like ‘Camel Crew’, another particularly bouncy one. But they’re funnier too, with delicious lines like “I’ll take your t-shirt and put it in the wash/Then when you go out in public/Your fabric will be fu**ing soft” from big single ‘Kutcher’. This is the reason why there’s so much hype about them reinventing indie. They’re giving that longstanding ethereal, jangly sound an injection of reality and, dare we say it, personality. They played all the hits that just come alive when you dance to them – and it’s hard not to. ‘Stanton’ is indie rock’s answer to EDM with its tantalising build and exhilarating end of crashing drums and scalic guitar. Frontman Rice was everywhere for this one, surfing the crowd and in the mosh pit.

My only criticism of Sports Team is that they didn’t play longer! There were a couple of songs from their Winter Nets and Keep Walking! EPs that were disappointingly omitted for the show, but oh well, the big singles were more than enough to satiate, I’m just being greedy. You can’t not get along to ‘Get Along’, even if the band claim to never be able to nail down the only song in their set which swaps electric for acoustic guitar. Recent releases ‘Fishing’ and ‘Here it Comes Again’ went down an absolute treat with the crowd with Sports Team debuting a couple of even newer ones with the likes of ‘The Races’ and ‘Long Hot Summer’ after which Rice teased with talk of an impending album…

In football, there are 11 players to a team, 15 in Rugby Union but in Sports Team, there are 6 plus whoever’s left standing on the dance floor. They continue their UK tour ending with shows in Cambridge and London next week.

If you’re interested, you can get your tickets to see them next week here

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