Friday, February 19, 2016

Live Review :: The Magic Gang - 100 Club, London - Feb 15 2016

Live Review

The Magic Gang

100 Club, London

February 15 2016

Words/Photos: Rosie Mulhern

At London's legendary 100 Club, the NME Awards Shows 2016 tour continues; on this particular Monday night it was the turn of Brighton foursome The Magic Gang to take centre stage as headliners for the sold-out show.

Kicking the night off to a promising start, Tempesst and Willie J Healey took to the stage in their respective support slots. Tempesst, a duo consisting of two brothers from Australia, created a moody and sleazy vibe to the night with their hazy sound, similar to Tame Impala. Willie J Healey and his band instantly engaged the crowd with his established stage presence and his songs creating a vibe not too dissimilar to that of Jamie T’s.

It was then the turn of the night's big draw. With comparisons made to The Beach Boys due to their dreamy, carefree surf-pop sound style, The Magic Gang naturally ratcheted up fan enthusiasm levels, with more than one member of the audience spending more time on stage with the band than on the floor. The excitement was almost too much for the band at times as they genuinely seemed overwhelmed at the reaction they were receiving, leading to bassist Gus Taylor attempting to convince the crowd to settle down, insisting that he was doing his job as the "typical chilled and calm bassist".  Even the famous faces in amongst the crowd, such as Swim Deep frontman Austin Williams, seemed to relishing the band on stage - demonstrating the kind of kudos and following The Magic Gang have accumulated.

Despite the overwhelming atmosphere there was a sense of unity that the band seemed to create. Frontman Jack Kaye also favourably took the time to give a shout-out to Girls Against, the new movement enforcing the safety for people at gigs against sexual harassment.

Their set list consisted of older tunes and new, unheard material. Normally, hearing the words 'we are now going to play some of our new songs' can fill the crowd with dread and instantly kill the enthusiasm. However, when Jack excitedly, but reservedly, made his announcement, it was a completely different story. It was almost as if those very words were the go-ahead for the crowd to resort to even more wild enthusiasm than they had previously shown, and all the new songs subsequently being well-received.

But nothing could quite compare during the evening to those first notes of the pulsing and distinctive bass riff of crowd favourite ‘No Fun’, the build-up of anticipation amongst the crowd being so strong, you could practically smell it. It was difficult to hear the band over the screaming voices of the audience who belted out their undeniably most recognised song with heartfelt passion.

What was unusual, yet refreshing, was to see that the band's live performances appear to be truly a real team effort. Although frontman Jack is primarily the lead vocalist, all members of this very magical gang were involved at different points in the sharing of mic duties.

Going by their show tonight, if you get the chance to see these guys live, then I would highly recommend you do. Magic.

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