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Live review: The Magic Gang @ O2 Birmingham, 22/09/18

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On the first date of a tour spanning twelve venues across the UK, The Magic Gang opened with a bang at the O2 Institute in Birmingham. 

image taken from YouTube

The Brighton boys began their set with ‘Alright’, which was released as a single in 2017 before the band’s debut album came out in earlier this year. They didn’t just bring their guitars onto the stage, but also an abundant sense of energy which was immediately injected into the crowd. This was continued by fan-favourite ‘All This Way’. It’s the first song that The Magic Gang ever released as a single and encapsulates the seemingly overarching theme of their self-titled album: relationships. ‘All This Way’ was filled with potent harmony, but the highlight was Jack Kaye’s lovelorn "I’m sorry that we fell in love" at the end of the song, which was met with resounding approval from the crowd.

Of course, a set from The Magic Gang wouldn’t be complete unless it was adorned with girls’ names. ‘Jasmine’, ‘Caroline’ and of course ‘Oh, Saki’ were effortless performances, inciting the launch of several drinks into the air. Sandwiched between them was ‘Take Care’, a melancholic track pondering the aftermath of a break-up, with the bittersweet vocals sung by the band’s bassist, Gus Taylor. Whilst at a surprising point in the set, it’s placement between two of The Magic Gang’s most upbeat tracks worked well and certainly accentuated the impressive range that they possess. 

In the last songs before the encore came a trio of fan favourites. Beginning with ‘Your Love’, followed by ‘How Can I Compete’ and ‘Getting Along’, the set just wouldn’t have been the same without all three. Each one epitomises The Magic Gang’s skill in delivering chirpy riffs alongside melancholic lyricism exploring love and loss. It’s what they do best, and what makes their music so infectious.

"One more song!" was chanted over and over by the crowd after the lights went out on set. Nobody was going home before an encore, and of course, The Magic Gang delivered one. Looking amused as they observed the formation of a large mosh, they informed the crowd that actually, the penultimate song was a slow one and to "Tone it down a little, you can save it for the next one." 

You could tell that The Magic Gang have gone from strength to strength since the release of their debut album in March; they were all at ease as they chatted amiably to the crowd, yet still delivered an exhilarating set. Last, but definitely not least, was ‘All That I Want Is You’, and I’m sure the mosh was worth waiting for. This golden oldie proved something that the crowd definitely already knew: The Magic Gang are born performers, and after such an excellent start to their Autumn tour, they deserve every success.

Although the set was only just over an hour, The Magic Gang played all of the favourites from their debut album. Their unrelenting optimism resulted, once again, in putting a smile on everyone’s face. As they thanked Birmingham for its support and the final track played out, I think everyone was assured that there’s certainly much more to come from this loveable four-piece.

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