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Live Review: The Magic Gang and Vitamin @ The Horn, St Albans (20/4/16)

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For a support act, it is a novelty to have people arrive early enough to watch your set, let alone mosh and actively clamour for certain tracks to be played. But this was precisely the case for Leeds four-piece Vitamin on the St Albans leg of their tour with The Magic Gang.

VitaminWith a commanding stage presence and quirky vocals, front-man Jared was almost Christ-like in appearance; dressed in a pale colour palette and flowing white shirt, he reached out and held hands with those at the front. He later walked amongst the crowd, which parted obligingly as he sang.

It is clear that as a collective Vitamin (★★★★) are tight, producing a clean sound having honed their skills as a live act without losing any playfulness. Jared seemed to revel in staring down specific members of the audience if they caught his eye.

Their songs are often reminiscent of The 1975 and 80s synth pop. It is easy music to groove along to, whether or not you are familiar with Vitamin’s guitar-led melodies and the off-riff beats that feature so heavily in their back catalogue.

It could be said that the music is simplistic, but only in the best way, with infectious, sunny choruses and tempo shifts subtle enough so as not to disrupt the energy.

Highlights of the set included ‘To Believe’ and the recently released ‘Waterfall’, which acted as the finale. The yet to be released track ‘Brothers and Sisters’ was also well-received.

Vitamin have all the hallmarks of a band that are on the brink of headlining venues themselves, but the night belonged to The Magic Gang (★★★★).

When the Brighton quartet took to the stage, what ensued was an intensified atmosphere, made all the better by the intimate venue, stage invasions and display of very proficient musicianship. The band’s songs translate well to the live arena, and even the more mellow tracks encouraged an energetic display from the crowd, lead by enthusiastic kids sporting band merchandise.

The Magic Gang seem to have a knack for writing tracks that feel familiar both in melody and sentiment, with the lyrics carrying a sense of angst universal to every young generation – covering boredom and an apparent disillusionment with narcotics (Jack Kaye laments “party drugs don’t do anything”), to love, longing and subsequent rejection. It’s not surprising that they had everyone singing along, mimicking the effortless harmonies of Kaye and Kris Smith.

Most notable moments included a rendition of ‘Feeling Better’, which sounded particularly triumphant amidst the sea of bodies at the front, and ‘No Fun’, a suitably withering number featuring perhaps the most brooding bass-line ever written.

All in all, the night proved to be a real showcase of decent guitar-driven music that could single-handedly dispel any doubts for the future of the genre.

Remaining tour dates:

April 28- Sound Control, Manchester

April 30- Bodega, Nottingham




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