17 December, 2015

[GIG REVIEW] The Magic Gang @ Brudenell Social Club, Leeds, 14th December 2015

It’s on a dark, cold Yorkshire evening that The Magic Gang rolled into town; bringing with them their dreamy, laid back tunes that would fit effortlessly into anyone’s summer playlist. Originally billed for the Brudenell Social Club’s Games Room (a more intimate and intense enclosure), I was shocked on arrival to see the main room open with the top level roped off with curtains. Although deemed as a “small” venue, even I knew it would be hard for the Brighton four-piece to fill such a daunting arena – and sadly, the open plan set the tone for the rest of the evening.
Despite smashing their way through a strong setlist of devilishly infectious tracks, both old and from the forthcoming EP (brilliantly named ‘EP’), the band were not able to fill the glaringly empty venue. With a strong crowd of students and enthusiastic fans, the gig would have been perfectly placed in the originally billed intimate setting – which would have reflected their undeniable intensity that is present in their shows.

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This aside, the band expertly proved why they have been included in DIY Magazine’s ‘Class of 2016’ by bringing us a maturing and developed display of searing guitars and refined grooves. By constantly touring, The Magic Gang have slowly altered and perfected a setlist that accurately reflects their fun and energetic nature. While chatting to members Kris and Paeris, it became clear that the development of such a list hasn’t been as simple as you’d imagine – “the only problem is we have too many songs”. However, even with an embarrassment of riches, the band are able to fit in crisp and concise renditions of their many charming retro-indie guitar tunes that never fail to get the crowd dancing (even with a negative punter to floor space ratio).
Old fan favourite and publicity kickstarter ‘She Won’t Ghost’ is simple but effective, bringing with it a vintage production and the first of many examples of seamless harmonising between all three front men. The well-constructed new single ‘Jasmine’ is given some edge with centre of stage Jack forever smiling, cheerfully bouncing, and winking at any audience member he meets eyes with. With a catchy yet subtle chorus, it is no surprise the song is gaining increasing coverage on Radio 1 (tipped as track of the week BBC Radio 1 Introducing). Amidst some questionable mid-set chat about mirrors, we are treated to the dreamy ‘I Wanna Get To Know Ya’ and the never forgotten ‘Alright’. On top of this, we are also spoilt with some numbers off the impending EP (released in January) including ‘She Doesn’t See’, ‘Feeling Better’ and personal highlight 'All That I Want Is You'.
Unheard and unrecognised, ‘Jazzy’ (at least that’s what I think it’s called) is the dark horse of the set. With many fans opting to force the fun and create a ten-man mosh pit, it was seemingly lost at points. However, with close examination, it evolves into an absolute gem that wouldn’t be out of place on the new Unknown Mortal Orchestra album. Revolving around a modest beat and funky bassline, and with vocals lead by bassist Gus, the track oozes with ancillary confidence and develops into a pigeon-toed groove and indie-pop hybrid.
‘No Fun’ closes the regular show, with all the ‘cooler’ kids showing that they already know all of the words to it – testing its imminent status as a festival favourite in the summer. In jest, the Brighton boys play ‘Alright’ as an encore; showing that, even in these undecorated times, there is a place for a band unafraid of just having fun.
With their musical career only heading in one direction, and showing no signs of slowing, The Magic Gang are a group not to be missed.

The band play the 100 Club as part of the NME Awards Shows series on Monday 15th February 2016.
And don't forgot about their debut EP 'EP' - [PRE-ORDER]

The Magic Gang played:

Lady, Please
She Won’t Ghost
Wanna Get To Know Ya
She Doesn’t See
All That I Want Is You
Feeling Better
No Fun
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Written by Richard Maver