The only shitty thing about seeing Ninja High School is having to argue with your friend for the rest of the night about whether or not they were being ironic. And that’s about as fun as arguing about whether or not Peaches is sexist or Dave Chappelle is racist. These conversations almost inevitably end in one person yelling, “Holy shit, stop thinking so much and fucking enjoy it!”
Generally finding myself on the receiving end of this exasperated battle cry of fun, I was pleasantly surprised by my reaction to this band.While some bands struggle to classify their particular brand of indie-pop-post-rock-pre-post, Toronto’s Ninja High School seems to have it bang on: hardcore dance-rap. With one boy manning a small beatbox/Korg/iPod contraption, cranking heavy, catchy beats reminiscent of the early days of Def Jam [See Krush Groove, 1985], the dance part was a giveaway. Another guy stood on speakers, hid under chairs, pulled his shirt over his head, and generally skittered around while yelling out the verses and slogany choruses that justify the rap in their website’s description. And the hardcore? Well, that was left up to a somewhat quiet, awkward girl and an attractive Asian guy with sweet dance moves and charming between-song banter.
With what can only be described as team effort, Ninja H.S. transformed the stage of Victoria’s 50/50 Arts Collective from a sanctuary of awkward sincerity into an electric dancehall of. . . okay, now I’m just getting carried away. But there was dancing. And yes, I did fucking enjoy it.