The Magic Gang bounced into Headrow House on Saturday night, bringing a generous portion of southern charm to a bitterly cold northern night. The bubbly Brighton quartet’s concoction of light and fluffy indie rock lit up the stage and the room. It’s certainly not a totally ground-breaking musical formula, but they do it well enough so that it’s engaging, even enough to make several die-hard fans bob from one side of the room to the other, screaming every lyric loud and proud.
The band was supported by three others, all similarly soft and indie. The Orielles kicked off the evening, adding their brand of soothing guitar rock to the mix. Next was Natalie McCool, who was rather astounding in that she held the stage alone, yet managed to establish an undeniably powerful presence. With just her voice, a guitar and a Mac, McCool created a swirling atmosphere, suitably edgy to fit with her sharp black fringe and undercut. Then it was the turn of Trudy: a Libertines-esque trio with quivering vocals and a doo-wop beat.
The Magic Gang themselves filled the stage with a performance full of bounding puppy-like joy. Although they were missing their bassist, Angus, this merely increased their enthusiasm as a way to encourage replacement bassist Connor. Their enthusiasm was infectious throughout their set, passing from each band member and then through to the audience. They breezed their way through an eight-song set, ranging from old favourites like ‘She Won’t Ghost’ to the lighter songs from the new EP, such as ‘All That I Want Is You’.
To see a band with such universal appeal as the Magic Gang in such an intimate venue as Headrow House, you get the feeling that you’re watching a band on the edge of something big. It’s exciting, and makes you wish you had a crystal ball, just to be able to say you called it all first.
photo: Sian Blewitt