Show Spotlight: Sports Team @ DC9, 10/24/19

With so much coming through DC on a regular basis, how will you ever decide what to go see? Let Fuzzy Logic help.

Here, Ben Kirst sets forth his pro-Sports Team arguments, which are much in favor of you attending their October 24 show at DC9.

Oh, that blessed plot. Whenever the future of indie rock starts to look a little bleak Stateside, our friends in the United Kingdom are right there with a lorryload of exports to remind us that the kids are still alright.

One of the latest indicators that the sound still has currency among the young and the British is Sports Team. This freewheeling sextet of Cambridge University students takes the fun parts of bands like Arctic Monkeys, Parquet Courts, and even old mod revivalists like The Jam, to deliver a clever dose of cheer that leans heavily on the Britpop and US garage movements while still managing to offer something new.

And guess what? They’re coming to Shaw. Sports Team’s eight-city “Afloat, But Not Sailing” tour of the United States lands in Washington, DC, on Thursday, Oct. 24, when the band headlines a show at DC9 (1940 9th St. NW). The District’s own Makeup Girl will open. Doors are at 7 PM and the show is at 8. Tickets are available online.

The band’s extended tour, which comes on the heels of a supporting role for Two Door Cinema Club, launched in Philadelphia on Saturday night and returns to the UK in mid-November. Those shows are already seeing brisk ticket sales.

After rolling out a series of singles and extended plays over the past two years, the band released the limited U.S.-specific EP Making Hay on Rough Trade last week, which includes the single “M5,” streamed over 700,000 times on Spotify.

These are heady times for Sports Team. Jagger-esque singer Alex Rice, guitarists Rob Nagg and Henry Young, bassist Oli Dewdney, drummer Al Greenwood, and the mysterious Ben Mac continue to receive a number of healthy write-ups in influential publications like The Guardian, DIY, and Vice.

The NME’s Will Richards joined Sports Team’s second annual bus trip from London to Margate (a seaside town on the English Channel and the name of a Sports Team single) in August and proclaimed that the band is, “ of the most prominent and exciting bands in UK’s indie scene...They’re also firm believers that such a scene still can be strong and vibrant, and that the golden days of indie in Britain are far from gone.” Paste’s Lizzie Manno added that Sports Team is, “arguably the most exciting Britpop-indebted band in years.”

It’s not all positive press, sellout shows, and stints with Two Door Cinema Club for Sports Team, however — some salt always accompanies the sugar. In this case, it was the all-too-common ailment of a young and rising band: their gear got stolen after a show earlier this month.

As of the time of writing, there were no new updates on the theft, despite a clear photo of the perpetrator. Fortunately, the theft did not prevent the group from playing a high-profile gig at 02 Arena or heading off on the tour that brings them to our nation’s capital.

This is certainly a show worth checking out — there’s a decent chance the next time Sports Team comes to DC, it won’t be in a venue quite as intimate as DC9. And Alex Rice promises a good time!

“I think we've always had an enormous sense of ambition...We're nowhere near where we want to get yet,” Rice told Jessica Goodman of British indie website The Line of Best Fit in April. “If you come to a Sports Team gig, you're going to love it. You're going to feel better about yourself. It's going to be uplifting — like all great music should be.”

[words by Ben Kirst]

[posted 10.20.19]


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