Dear Entertainments Officer, Book Us Some Magic, Please!

Aurora Krogh notifies the UEL students’ union Entertainments Officer: what we want is The Magic Gang; when do we want them – now!

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The Magic Gang live up to their name. I know because I saw them last week in the West End, and I can hardly wait for them to come play on the East side of town. Seriously, calling all East London promoters – book them now before they get too big for your budget!

Based on what I saw and heard up West last week, here’s what to expect.

The venue is packed, the crowd is buzzing, ‘Magic Gang Bang’ chants fill the air—The Magic Gang are back in town. Playing their ‘coolest show to date’ at Oxford Street’s 100 Club—and taking a break from touring the rest of England—TMG returned to London’s streets for one night only to prove why they are ‘one to watch’.

‘Lady, Please’ kicks off the party. The chemistry between the band and the audience is a joy to watch, right from the start. The crowd is simply on fire—on a Monday night, no less—with moshing and stage-diving from first chord. The Magic Gang know exactly what they are doing, and where they want their crowd. 
 Seamless performances on stage are perpetually backed up by the almost hymnal choir of the audience. Every single person in the house is singing along, as if it is the sole reason they came—and the passion from fans is what makes The Magic Gang stand out in the crowded British music scene. Meanwhile the band feeds off the energy of the audience, which gives the whole show that something extra.

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For their first sold-out gig in London, The Magic Gang seem surprisingly relaxed about being in the limelight—especially compared to other bands labelled ‘ones to watch’.

‘We just wanna’ make good records and make people happy with our music. That’s pretty much what it’s about for us,’ Kristian Smith, guitarist and vocals says.

This attitude, and the innate joy that their music produces, might be the key to why The Magic Gang is hitting the ground running. Self-confessed old school romantics, the theme of falling in love is blissfully accompanied with gleeful melodies – something any tender-hearted teen or 20-something can relate to.

Despite being around for two years now, The Gang has only released one EP—simply titled ‘EP’.

‘We’d rather release a few good records, rather than loads and loads of songs. We take our time with it because it’s worth doing something that is worthwhile, you know what I mean?’ Smith explains. Such unpretentious enthusiasm gives me hope for their future.

Next up, ’She doesn’t see’ sheds light on the issue of ‘gig groping’, and is dedicated to the newly established group ‘Girls Against’, who campaign for keeping girls safe at gigs. Jack Kaye, singer and guitarist, also takes a second to extend a heartfelt ‘thanks’ to all those in the 100 for coming out on a cold Monday evening. I can’t help but feel that I and the 350 people with me, made the right decision.

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As the new track ‘Isn’t Easy’ flares the crowd, the brief suspension absence of the otherwise ever-present singalong allows us to admire Smith and Kaye’s vocal harmonies—one of the band’s strongest features. I feel like The Magic Gang has found a style that they’re comfortable with, but without becoming complacent.

Kristian explains ‘When we first formed the band, it was kinda’ more like a one person’s idea; and now it has expanded into a more collaborative thing’. The positive impact of this is clearly proven by tonight’s energetic show.

Though the band seemingly has everything on point tonight, it hasn’t always been like this. Recalling broken amps, and awkward crowds, the challenges of a somewhat dodgy PA system is a minor issue and the band does not seem affected. The set list is accented by unknown wonders, and ‘Get To Know’ is no exception. It enforces the band’s brand marvelously, and with the solid foundation of a fantastically unforgettable bass line, it stands out as one of the many highlights this evening.

Still, it is during songs like ‘Alright’ and ‘Feeling better’ where The Magic really happens. The boundary between crowd and band completely shatters, as the audience indulge in the integral guitar-and-bass harmonies that TMG do so well. The sheer excitement unites everyone, leading Kaye to announce, ‘please get off the stage so we can play another song’. What a moment!

After mic-stands and amps are recovered the Gang rounds up the evening with ‘Shallow’. By the end of the set, the whole room is screaming the song’s hook, ‘I’m so shallooooooow’.

All honour to The Magic Gang for keeping it together, even through the hottest of moments. As sweaty people emerge into the cold night air, the joy on their faces is the single biggest proof: this is a gig to remember.

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