A mere few days after their intimate album launch gig at Headrow House, The Magic Gang return to Leeds for a stellar sold-out show.
Support act Our Girl win the crowd over with their grunge friendly alt-rock. Taking a leaf out of Nirvana’s book, they punctuate their songs with stripped back guitar and haunting vocals in between moments of crashing reverberation, creating a captivating atmosphere. This is the third time (supporting Marika Hackman and then Pale Waves) I’ve seen the band play Leeds in the last five months; they have certainly been working hard to reach out to fans and soon-to-be fans alike.
Opening with the glorious harmonies of Oh Saki, The Magic Gang invite the audience from the outset to join in. It must be said, they are a very likeable band. Part of the appeal lies perhaps in their undeniably angsty lyrics. While a generally younger audience affirms this, it shouldn’t be overlooked that The Magic Gang are more than charm and catchy hooks. Their repertoire spans the subject matter of many a teenager’s diaries: insecure relationships, pining after girls, going out with girls, breaking up with… (you get the picture). However, beneath every line about Jasmine, Caroline etc, is an effortlessly breezy guitar riff and a luscious melding of voices as all the band chip in every so often on singing duties. There’s more depth than appears as singer Jack Kaye declares, ‘all of your control is slippin’ from your soul’ on the ruminative Slippin’ – a line just about anyone can relate to on some kind of level.
It’s hard to fault the band. However, there’s a slight lull towards the latter half of the set. Relying on an aching falsetto and piano, slow number Take Care isn’t their best live and I’ll Show You is a touch too earnest and trying, overstepping the mark between self-deprecating and desperation.
Nevertheless, from the release of their first EP back in 2015, The Magic Gang have established a tight discography of hits, which is apparent as they sail from one singalong to the next for what seems like all night. Without question, The Magic Gang are anything but mediocre and are swiftly moving on the up.
All Images by Meg Firth