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Francesca Frankis reviews The Magic Gang live at Bristol’s O2 Academy. The band supported headline act – Sundara Karma.


Returning to Bristol for the second time this year, The Magic Gang were back at the O2 Academy on Thursday night. Having previously played alongside Circa Waves, this time they were supporting Sundara Karma following their release of acclaimed debut album Youth is Only Ever Fun in Retrospect. The performance by the Brighton based quartet offered a whole new perspective to their sound, which proved to be something best appreciated live.

The floor was filled to maximum capacity and people awaiting The Magic Gang’s set warmed up, eagerly singing along, to songs on the speakers. As the lights went down the band emerged on to stage drenched in blue lighting. The punchy opening chords of ‘Lady, please’ (a track from their first EP) signalled the start of their set, which the crowd greeted with an overwhelming energy, setting the mood for the rest of the gig. Before jumping into their second song, lead singer Jack Kaye paused for a brief thank you, and then transitioned into the fan favourite ‘All This Way’ with strobe lighting to match its breezy guitar part and snappy drums.

Watch the music video for ‘All This Way’ below:

They went on to play a well selected mix of songs that saw them dipping in and out of all three of their EP’s. With each song the crowd reached another level of energy, a seemingly impossible feat every time. It was testament to the dedication of The Magic Gang’s listeners, who knew by heart the lyrics to even some of their less known tracks like ‘No one else’ and ‘Feeling better’. The only hiccup of the whole set came in the form of a technical issue in between songs, although this was soon overshadowed when the upbeat opening of their latest release ‘Your Love’ kicked in only moments later. This proved a more polished track than some of their others, with a nostalgic ‘Beatles-esque’ sound about it. This was juxtaposed with the performance of the slightly gritty ‘Jasmine’, in which guitarists Jack Kaye and Kristian Smith-in their own words)-‘got a bit carried away’ during some impressive guitar solos.

Watch the band perform a live version of ‘Jasmine’ below:

Entering into their last few songs, the energy of the crowd was still exceeding expectation as mosh pits ensued, and the floor began to move, timed carefully with the chorus’ of ‘How Can I Compete’, another fan favourite that was chanted along to by almost everyone. The set was tied together and made complete with ‘All I Want Is You’, one of the bands most accomplished tracks that included tricky guitar parts. With music still playing the four boys walked off stage smiling, throwing guitar picks into the crowd.

The Magic Gang are clearly only at the start of their musical career, and if the performance they gave on Thursday night promises anything, it’s that as a band they can only get better. They have a clear passion for the music they create and perform, and this is something that was evident throughout the gig.


Did you see The Magic Gang live at the O2 Academy? If so let us know in the comment section below!

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