When it's not hosting international bands and big Spanish acts (e.g. El Guincho, a Spanish Animal Collective, played a short but very sweet set there back in February), Sala Wah Wah in the ugly prefab Blasco Ibañez district of Valencia puts on free gigs. (Entry is on the condition that you buy drink, and the elderly doorman, who watches you from the door to make sure you go straight to the bar, gets tetchy if you're not on your second within 10 minutes...) The first time I was there back in October, a drag-act was playing to a bewilderingly enthusiastic crowd of rockers. My intrigue faltered when it just turned out to be band of ugly women in catsuits, and the crowd probably just a group of perverted truck-drivers from Eastern Europe...
Anyway, thanks to a recent string of brilliant gigs, Wah Wah is my new favourite live music venue in Valencia. Last week The Go! Team were there playing their new album, Rolling Blackouts. Showcasing the (excellent) album almost whole alongside older tracks, the six of them powered through a dizzying set of garage rock (Rolling Blackouts), old school hip hop (Grip Like A Vice), 60s-inspired pop (Ready To Go Steady), country (Yosemite's Theme) and good ol' fashioned electro-indie (Huddle Formation), all dressed up the Go! Team way with blaxploitation soundtrack samples (T.O.R.N.A.D.O) and playground chants (the Running Range), and those keyboard sound effects you used to mess around with in school music lessons.
Despite the band's size, the eclecticism of their songs means they juggle instruments (which include the 2 drum kits) between them, and what sounds inventive on the album becomes impressive to watch live. Leading the room in audience-participations which would fall flat in the hands of most front-men, when she's not aerobic-dancing the aptly-named Ninja charms the crowd with her south London phrasebook Spanish and has stage presence enough for the whole band. The band's Asian contingent (Tsuchida and Fukami-Taylor) chip in to provide very different vocals on Secretary Song and Ready To Go Steady, and both tracks still manage to sound like summer in a dark, beery venue thanks to bright melodies over shuffling Motown beats. Even Yosemite Theme, an almost lyric-less, mid-tempo track, works well live thanks to the band's musical talent and visual energy, even when Ninja has left the stage.
Later this week the Spanglish Crystal Fighters are in Sala Wah Wah ahead of a summer where most festivals have been falling over each other to get them onto their lineup... "I LOV LON-DON"