UK buzz band, Sports Team, tour Canada with final stops in Toronto and Montreal – Apr 6/7, 2023
Six-piece rock outfit, Sports Team, met at Cambridge University and quickly became standouts in the London scene on the back of their visceral and erratic live shows. Now Canada has a chance to experience these wild antics as they have been touring across Canada, starting in Vancouver and winding up their last two shows in Toronto and Montreal. Interview below.
The band has been described as one of the most raucous, electrifying and chaotic acts in the UK. Coming up on the back of word-of-mouth live hype, and drawing round-the-block queues for their earliest gigs before releasing any music, the band have consistently set themselves apart with their intoxicating ambition.
theBUZZ caught up with the band for a fun Q&A before they take stage here in Toronto.
1. How did you come up with the name for the band, and the album title for this latest release?
It was the best of a pretty bad bunch; others in consideration included “Comfort” and “Lady Mandolin.” We played a show once as “The Tony Blair Witch Project” – maybe should have stuck with that?
Went with “GULP!” for the title of the second record in homage to Wile E. Coyote and his pursuit of Roadrunner. It’s the moment you’ve just run over the cliff and are suspended in mid-air. Just like releasing your second record.
2. Where did the inspiration come from when writing the new album?
The six of us were living together in one house in Camberwell, South London. As lockdown hit and we realised we couldn’t escape one another, what had once been the dream quickly turned to segregated fridge space and mild despair.
3. You’ve been touring the USA and Canada on this current trek, and posting some really fun images from the road. Tell us about a few of your more unusual experiences so far.
After soundcheck in Tulsa, Oklahoma, we took an uber six miles out to a diminutive, windowless bar named DD’s Double Shots upon the recommendation of our friend, ‘Nendog.’
Pushing open the door and crossing the threshold, you’re confronted with a wall of smoke and the wail of country music. It’s only when the song stops and the crowd of approximately thirty drinkers (average age 65) break into raucous applause that you realise you’ve just stood witness to one of the most accomplished karaoke performances you’re ever likely to hear.
At times the proprietress had a shuffleboard puck in one hand, microphone in the other, and a lit cigarette in her mouth, while somehow managing to serve you a drink. $8 pitchers of Bud + free bowls of homemade tasty beef and vegetable stew prepared that morning = One of the all-time great bars. We put the entire crowd on the guestlist for the show that night as we staggered out; a good number of them actually made it.
4. How have the shows been to date, and any shout outs to some of the support acts you’ve had along the way?
Vancouver and Victoria were great first shows in O Canada! “Wet Future” who joined us at Wicket Hall could be next in the great lineage of “Wet _ _ _” bands that support us then go onto big things.
5. What do you enjoy most being on the road, and miss most being away from home?
The occasional day off affords the opportunity to see parts of the world you might otherwise never visit. Yesterday we went hiking around Lake Louise in Banff National Park. Ben misses his cat, Scholesy.
6. This is your second time here in Toronto after a great performance here in the fall of 2022. This time you’ll be playing the legendary Horseshoe Tavern on a bit larger stage. What can fans expect this time around in addition to hearing tunes from your new album?
This is our first time here in Toronto. I think the band you saw were imposters or doppelgangers.
NOTE: Their previous show date was postponed until now.
7. Who are some of your main influences music wise?
8. If there were no limitations, who would you want to share the stage with?
9. What are some of the band’s favourite sports to play and watch? Any favourite teams?
Henry and Alex – Swansea City
Al and Ben – Manchester United
Rob – Calgary Flames
Oli is more of a casino man
10. What’s next for Sports Team after returning home to the UK?
Their debut EP ‘Winter Nets’, produced by Dave McCracken (Ian Brown, Depeche Mode), was a darkly humorous introduction to their world, and served up line after cheeky line exploring the throws of young adulthood. Less than twelve months later their follow up single, ‘Kutcher’, was named BBC Radio 1’s Hottest Record in the World. The tune ‘M5’, produced by Jolyon Thomas (The Magic Gang, Kendrick Lamar, U2) treads a uniquely English path, but one which now feels definitively theirs and is fixing to cement them as one of England’s most exciting discoveries.
Their Mercury Prize nominated debut album Deep Down Happy (June 19th, 2020) delivered on all bold claims, and confirmed their place at the head of a group of young guitar acts. Fine-tuning their plan to ravish the charts, their songs are both affectionate and disdainful.
With Gulp!, their highly anticipated new album, the new music has already begun to receive commercial and critical praise in the U.K. with Rolling Stone magazine giving the album a four-star praise. It’s got the raw 90s Brit pop energy of Blur and Oasis, or perhaps an 80s darkness like The Fall, that emits both grit and groove brought to life by lead singer, Alex Rice. Give it a listen, then check them out live in an intimate venue before they’re back playing a larger one.
Overhearing Sports Team in the pub is what you hear in the songs. An endless back-and-forth with no give or take; a succession of vivid snapshots of modern day Britain and the follies, foibles and frustrations of youth. The band calls to mind a loving but fractious family, bickering one minute, weeping with laughter the next.
Check out their YouTube channel for recent videos a bit of what to expect at their live shows.
About the Author
Bryen Dunn is a freelance journalist with a focus on travel, lifestyle, entertainment and hospitality. He has an extensive portfolio of celebrity interviews with musicians, actors and other public personalities. He enjoys discovering delicious eats, tasting spirited treats, and being mesmerized by musical beats.