The Magic Gang have no tricks up their sleeve, just great chorus after great chorus 3 years ago

The Magic Gang have no tricks up their sleeve, just great chorus after great chorus

The Magic Gang continue to float on the arms of their fans, lost in their own dizzy singalongs

Some would call it geek chic, whatever that is.


The Magic Gang look and sound like they did six years ago, and they will probably look and sound like this six years from now. They wear their clothes, ill-fitting and almost exclusively in pastel shades, authoritatively, as though by design. Like this was a uniform, Kiss or AC/DC.

Looks can be deceiving, they say. They can also be indicative of exactly what lies in store, writing on a tin. You can probably guess by the name: The Magic Gang. This is Britpop for millennials, Beach Boys harmonies and guitars cut from the same indie cloth as The Maccabees Colour It In, but inverted. The verses are light, nothing more than a loose preamble to get you where you're going; the Sunday stroll through woods with the spaniels, wellies on, the wind causing wreaking havoc through floppy hair.

The choruses are the weight, the destination. Pub. Pint. Roast. And that's when you start to feel it. To feel better.


They are earnest, but they are cooler for it. They bounce along to their own melodies like they're hearing them for the very first time. They have three singers, all of them with range.

Jack Kaye, rhythm guitarist and, ostensibly, the frontman, takes the lead on most songs. Frontman is a loose term. He stands in the middle and jumps into the crowd at the end. Still. The shoe fits.

With his round glasses and black mop of hair, he strikes me as the sort of person who was probably designed in a laboratory in a basement underneath the NME offices after they first heard Is This It, destined to front an indie band one day. Either that or to enthusiastically teach Geography, somehow managing to convince a bunch of 15-year-olds that Fjords are actually, gasp, 'quite sick'.


Lead guitarist Kristian Smith, offers a slightly woozier counterpoint, drifting along in the ether rather than shouting into the abyss.

And there is an abyss. The Magic Gang, whatever their 'pop sensibilities' (translation: can write a fucking great chorus), have the fans in a certain state from start to finish. Half the audience is on the other half's shoulders only four songs in - at Kaye's instruction - during 'Jasmine'. This is the reckless abandon of youth turned into 3 minute 30 second anthems and shot back at you via Bart Simpson's catapult.

This is adolescence distilled. Or, for the portion of the crowd who look like they voted leave bopping along in the shadows at the back, whatever they think they remember adolescence might have felt like.

I'm not certain myself, but I think I remember it might have felt good.


Angus Taylor sings the least and plays bass, the Roberto Firmino of this particular front three. He's arguably the best vocalist, though, and his particularly soothing melodies - let's call it Calpol falsetto - appear in heaped spoonfuls throughout the set. He takes centre stage at the keyboard for 'Take Care', a Frank Ocean style breakup ballad that builds and builds and slowly fades back into itself.

Afterwards, Angus returns to his basslines and dancing around his side of the stage until the choruses come. Then the meditative oohs, waves of warm air, sticky jam oozing out of a doughnut.

The songs tend to tread the same path, well-worn Clarks school shoes, heartbreak in a school blazer. 'All That I Want Is You', 'How Can I Compete', 'Getting Along', 'Jasmine', 'Caroline'. They're not so much song titles as frustrated scribbles in the back of the maths textbook, torn out and flung hopelessly across the room in the vague direction of that girl that smiled at you once.

Fortunately, they do it well. They do it really well. It only takes one listen of a Magic Gang chorus before you can sing it back with the same unabashed enthusiasm as the band. Maybe this is by grand design, baggy shirts and all.

There will be sore throats in the morning and you'll think about Calpol. Listen to The Magic Gang, it might help you remember just how good it used to taste.