REVIEW: Goat, Riverside, Newcastle

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Even in this age of digital music and online exposure, the popularity of Goat seems something of an oddity.

Shrouded by anonymity, the seven-piece emerged from Sweden four years ago in a blur of masks, robes and headdresses, sparking rumours they'd formed in a small, cursed village that'd once been the home of witch doctors.

Anyone who came to Riverside uninitiated last night may have felt as though they'd walked in on some kind of wild voodoo ritual, but look beyond the shtick and it's not hard to see how these mavericks have built themselves an audience.

In fact, strip away the omnipresent bongos and school-trolley instruments, and they're actually have a fairly conventional modern psyche outfit - leftfield perhaps, but hardly alien in a world of War On Drugs and Tame Impalas.

Donned in full tribal uniform, their energy and spirit nevertheless made for a mightily entertaining romp - certainly more so than the evening's support, who at times resembled a kind of dullard, pseudo-hippy parody.

Amid the relentless rhythmic charge, the majority of the focus fell on the band's dual (and, of course, nameless) frontwomen, who sparked a frenzy with their ceaseless, spontaneous dance, reigned in only when they conformed, almost grudgingly, to vocal duties.

That manic enthusiasm rubbed off on the crowd too, whether it was grooving to the beat of Disco Fever, shuffling to the rush of Gathering Of Ancient Tribes or banging heads to bluesy stomp of Goatfuzz - a standout from their new album Requiem.

Even the lengthier, noodling jams were enlivened by the pair's presence, while the likes of Run To Your Mama and Talk To God proved that beneath the phaser-drenched guitars lie a clutch of fine, thoroughly danceable tunes.

Sure, it's all a bit of a gimmick (witness closer Let It Bleed, when they started waving around giant sticks for no apparent reason), but if anything the contrast between their set and that of their support act highlighted the need for a USP.

Goat may be contrived, unnecessary and more than a little daft, but come the end of it all you'd struggle to notice anyone leaving without a broad grin on their face.