The Magic Gang // Live Review

The Lexington – December 15th

“They’re such a good live band,” remarks one member of the audience moments into The Magic Gang’s set, almost chuckling in disbelief at how fully formed they are already. In a year that’s seen them tour the country with Wolf Alice and Swim Deep, and now complete their biggest run of headline shows to date, they’ve become one hell of a tight live unit.

The Magic Gang have had fellow buzz band INHEAVEN in tow for the last eight dates of the tour, and the Londoners – impossible to pigeonhole with their intoxicating blend of shoegaze, grunge, punk and more – play a short but scintillating set in front of their home crowd.

Frontman James Taylor is fast proving himself as a natural in the role, posturing behind the mic, and gazing into the eyes of all those stood before him. Breakout singles ‘Regeneration’ and ‘Bitter Town’ are every bit as uplifting live, whilst regular opener ‘Stupid Things’ and attitude-packed newbie ‘Baby’s Alright’ only further justify the hype that’s come to surround INHEAVEN. Supporting The Magic Gang has served them splendidly, and their newfound fans will no doubt join them on a headline tour in the not too distant future.

Tonight, however, headlining duties of course rest with the boys from Brighton. The 18+ age restriction – a fact it takes them some while to realise – may mean that much of their excitable young fan base is absent, but that doesn’t seem to take any of the enjoyment out of the night. Dancing, moshing and even crowd-surfing abound during a feverish rendition of ‘No Fun’, and the singalongs to early number ‘Shallow’ couldn’t possibly be any more impassioned, members of INHEAVEN even getting in on the act from the back of the room.

There’s no denying that The Magic Gang are enjoying themselves every bit as much as – perhaps even more so than – the legions of devout followers they’ve already amassed, frontman Jack Kaye’s beaming, almost perma-grin all the evidence one needs. All four members are clearly having the time of their lives though, and the banter between them flows wonderfully as bassist Gus Taylor takes over lead vocal duties on new track ‘Talk The Same’. If you’re not having a good time in here, there’s not much hope really.

The group’s debut EP is almost upon us, and it’s showcased superbly tonight. Lead single and pop triumph ‘Jasmine’ has been going down a treat at their gigs for months already, and there’s no end to that tonight. Further EP cuts ‘Lady Please’ and ‘She Doesn’t See’ are equally warmly received, already establishing themselves as firm fan favourites – then again, isn’t that what The Magic Gang are as a whole?

They’ve quite obviously got the backing of their adoring public, now surely all that’s left for The Magic Gang is for a label to snap them up – whoever does so will be onto an instant winner. ‘No Fun’? The truth couldn’t possibly be further from it.

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