Live Review: Sports Team @ Rock City

I spent my walk over to Rock City feeling pensive, writes Hattie Kilner. Sports Team, albeit a very juvenile version of them, were officially the first ever band I saw in Nottingham. This was way back when they supported The Magic Gang in late 2018, and the thought of them now headlining a show filled me with nothing but a warm sense of pride.

On stepping into the (extremely crowded) floor of Rock City, my reminiscing was very quickly replaced with only two thoughts: ‘fucking hell, Sports Team have got big’ and, shortly after, ‘I’m wearing the wrong shoes for this’.

Before we’d even been treated to any of Alex Rice’s joyous yelping, it was evident that this was going to be a great show. The crowd was a hive of buzzing fans; they demanded a good time, and a good time was what they got. I’ve never seen so many innovative drinking games before a gig in my life, my favourite being one in which two people got onto their friends’ shoulders and raced to chug a pint. Quality entertainment, although I was lucky enough not to be one of the game’s many victims who ended up in the splash zone.

"Blondes: whimsical, dreamy, and full to the brim with nostalgia"

Support for this gig came from Courting and Blondes, who each played an impressive set. I was particularly happy to see Blondes (a favourite of mine) perform their viral TikTok hit ‘Coming of Age’. For a wonderful 3 minutes I was living in an 80s brat pack movie. Whimsical, dreamy, and full to the brim with nostalgia.

Clearly, with Sports Team on the way, this feeling didn’t last for long.

The main act burst in (in outfits ranging from schoolboy to simply eclectic) to AC/DC’s ‘Thunderstruck’- a fitting move for a band known for their fun, if totally anarchistic, approach to music. Starting out with a couple of songs from their 2020 album, Deep Down Happy, Sports Team immediately managed to send the crowd into a frenzy of screamed lyrics and mosh pits. 20 minutes in it was already good, but oh my god did it get better. Having whet the appetites of their fans, they plunged into one of the most electric performances I have experienced for a long time. Of course, it was M5. The near-hysteria caused by a song devoted to the minute joys of driving along a motorway is a true testament to Sports Team’s chaos-fuelled satirical genius.

One of the best things about this gig? Sports Team didn’t skimp on their songs. In the hour-and-a-bit that they were onstage, the band managed to whirl raucously through the best of their discography, leaving no crowd favourites untouched (despite their teasing in leaving the iconic Here’s the Thing and gimmicky favourite Kutcher until the encore). They were having a great time on stage (and, occasionally, in the crowd) which was amplified on the Rock City floor. The gig finished as any good night should (provided you’re a big fan of Ocean in Nottingham) with a rendition of Robbie Williams’ Angels.

Sports Team are the gobby underdogs of the music scene. They unapologetically wield the privilege of their upbringing and, quite frankly, I don’t think we’d get on if I met them. Still, I can’t get enough of them. After two years of gig-less misery, they are a band who seem more than prepared to bring back live music as it should be- wacky, loud, and a great time. There’s no doubt about it, I absolutely loved it.

Hattie Kilner


Edited by: Joe Hughes

Feature image courtesy of Sports Team via Facebook. Videos courtesy of Sports Team via YouTube