Gig Review: Sports Team w/ Bull & Alfie Templeman

Finlay Holden reviews a blistering gig from Sports Team, with support from Alfie Templeman and Bull.

Finlay Holden
9th December 2019
Image- Finlay Holden

Infamously raucous Cambridge band Sports Team headline to a packed out crowd at Newcastle’s Riverside, proving once and for all that they are one of the country’s most exciting upcoming bands with their well-known erratic live performances.

York-based four-piece Bull are the first to take to the stage. Right from the offset, they make a striking impression by truly embracing chaos in their set. Their live sound reminded me of Peach Pit if they were bigger fans of syringes. The frontman certainly ensured the show remained interesting through quirky dancing, a quick contrast between whispering and screaming vocals and the use of multiple instruments, at one point bringing out a recorder and asking the audience if they’d seen his plastic trumpet anywhere.

Alfie Templeman soon graced the stage, meandering around with his extremely young band while wearing a Rex Orange County hoodie - safe to say Alfie wears his influences on his sleeve, or more accurately, his torso. Playing music from across his 3 EPs, including songs released just last week, fans are already singing the words and forming moshpits within the first couple of songs on the setlist; when the band jumped into a cover of ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ in the middle of the set is when the crowd really got involved though. It’s amazing to see how the soundscapes on the recordings are brought to life by a guitar band, and I’m glad to say I was not disappointed in the slightest. 

Finally, the main act Sports Team swaggered onto the stage. Despite being a six-piece, frontman Alex Rice immediately steals all the attention, with his unique raw vocals giving life to fan favourites, new singles and upcoming releases alike. I’d imagine the security at Riverside were not too happy with this show, as the standout singer was constantly leaning into the crowd, shaking hands with fans and having conversations between songs before jumping into the mosh pit and being lifted into a crowd surf at the end. Even without knowing the lyrics to every song, it’d be hard not to get swept up in the atmosphere that the band seems to create up and down the country. Highlights include Alex climbing up a speaker to belt out ‘Kutcher’ which had the crowd screaming every word, and everyone in the building jumping up and down to ‘M5’. True indie bangers.

Overall, this entire show was one of the most positive I have attended, with the crowd being willing to get involved right from the first song by the first support - certainly a rare occurrence. Alfie Templeman almost stole the show, but the energy for Sports Team just about blew the roof off the venue.

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