The Magic Gang were made to play in a live setting; animated and armed with permanent grins, their onstage energy is incomparable. Playing Hebden Bridge’s Trades Club felt like a rare opportunity for an intimate gig with the ever-growing band – a hidden gem nestled in a corner of the quirky town, the venue is tiny in comparison to the larger venues and festival stages the band have become accustomed to.
The size of the venue certainly had no effect on the reactions of the crowd, however. As support acts Lounge Society and Treeboy & Arc each delivered a raucous set, the younger members of the crowd (which admittedly seemed to spread across a wide age range) very enthusiastic from the get-go: perhaps an inevitable consequence of their moderately tipsy states.
This was only amplified when the indie sweethearts themselves graced the stage, leaving the floor shaking as their devoted fans danced through their set. Racing through a mix of fan favourites and hints at new music, The Magic Gang exhibited an electrifying passion for their music, playing classics like ‘How Can I Compete’ and ‘All This Way with total glee as the crowd chanted every word back at the band. Any attempts by the torrential downpour outside to dampen spirits were completely futile; The Magic Gang’s songs are so embedded with hopefulness and unadulterated cheer that they entirely repel any pessimism, magically.
The set included a number of unheard releases that received almost as exuberant a reaction as the more well-known songs. ‘What Have You Got To Lose?’ sees frontman Jack Kaye step aside as bassist Gus Taylor takes the lead in an impressive, punchy number that feels slightly heavier than what we are used to with the band. ‘Give Me Just A Minute’ and ‘Gonna Bounce Back’ illuminate The Magic Gang at their best – the influence of The Beach Boys is palpable, and they are harmonious as ever. If this is a taste of what is to come for the band, then whatever is on the horizon is something to get excited for – introspective yet relentlessly cheery, The Magic Gang are back and better than ever.
Header Image Credit: Dan Kendall