“Oh yeah, that’s the game.”//
A sprawling red carpet for the up-and-coming, Rock City is a favoured haven for any gooey alternatives within the rock universe.
Starry-eyed or not, you’re never too big – or small – to play Rock City.
With the rather unfortunate touring schedules, it seems that Nottingham is on the receiving end of hosting a gig on a Sunday. But, we should expect a cathartic release of energy, passion and sound – irrespective on what day of the week it happens to land on. This Sunday (16/10), was certainly no different.
Bolstering an other-worldly leisure, support troopers Fat Dog were out for blood. Emerging from the crowd like an erratic police lineup of the Village People, one stood a brazen cowboy, a child saxophonist and a drummer donning a dog mask. My God, was it a load of fun. Like a water off a duck’s back, they took the role of a support band seriously, gearing the crowd up with icky thumps, oddball quips and chaotic garnish. Like something out a fever dream for Eurovision, it felt like was our entry for 2023.
With the crowd broiled up and closing in the gaps, it was time for the star of the show: Sports Team. A bickering in the pub, Sports Team are a vivid snapshot of modern Britain and its bold claims to life itself. Rife with poetry citations from folk hero John Betjeman, Sports Team are an electrifying force of unity, bringing their alternative quips to the forefront of the new and exciting for UK’s alternative music. Much like John himself, Alex Rice and co deliver a precise rendering of social nuance that seemingly personifies most with the younger folk. Which probably why their shows truly pop off.
So, the stage was set. We know who we’re expecting, what was going to be the outcome? Well, they had already played the Academy in Manchester the night prior, and so it was easy to stockpile the setlist. But what wasn’t easy, was predicting the night itself.
Right out of the jumping gate, Sports Team didn’t hold back. They swooned into Here It Comes Again, a momentous introduction to a vibrant and energetic band. Had we had known that Alex’s belting of HERE IT COMES AGAINNNN – to a sold-out Rock City who belted it back with arms stretched to the sky – was an advisory warning to what we had gotten ourselves in for, we would have come more prepared.
Then it really goes off. The crowd moving as one jumping jack, the group screeched into the immense riffage of new punk, The Game off their new album, Gulp! that was only released mere weeks ago. Yet, every word was roared out in one big choral fist-pump, Like a song on the radio! Like a song on the radio! almost as if the album had been out for years.
A performance awash with the Sports Team “Best Of” from their starting careers of 2020, it featured many-a singles that were instant fan favourites. Happy (God’s Own Country) blitzed into a feeding frenzy in the final third while Fishing was met with Alex high-fiving a sea of angsty crowd-surfers, as they were mauled away by security.
On a song along about being free whipping down open motorways, M5 gave us a real sense of that adolescent free spirit. Rightly so, in the hothouse of noice and sweat, they took themselves for a cool down. Albeit momentary, as they didn’t want it to be quiet for too long.
An encore collapsed in on itself as they rounded up the explosive night with chauvinistic Here’s The Thing, Deep Down Happy’s Kutcher and off-cut single of 2017’s Stanton. A perfect sight for any avid fan, they’re certainly ones to watch out for. You can catch a glimpse of my videos I shot or some of the professional shots on their Instagram, @sportsteam. Do please ignore my screaming. if you can!