The Magic Gang – Concorde 2, Brighton – 25th September 2018

Photo by Liam McMillen

It’s often strange seeing a band we’ve seen adorn so many of our small venues over the years become a genuine nationwide institution. This has happened to Brighton’s The Magic Gang seemingly overnight. From playing in front of little to no people, to releasing their debut album and winning over teenagers left, right and centre. Their Concorde 2 show, which saw screams akin to a chart-storming boyband, was a celebration of their early years and their debut record.

Fittingly, the first support on the night came from a band who look like they’re set to repeat The Magic Gang’s trajectory. Drip Gloss, the band who have recently dropped their debut single ‘Fame’ and supported Swim Deep, look like they have all the ingredients to be the next indie darlings. With lead singer Vanilla Jenner’s peppy vocals, and eccentric fashion, they’re an incredibly fun band who put the pop in indie-pop. ‘Fame’, certainly the highlight on the night, is a track that falls somewhere between post-21st Century empowered pop and the recent resurgence in indie-rock.

Main support for the tour comes from a band that have seemed to be around for a long while. Back with a new EP earlier in the year, Spector continued their reemergence into the indie scene with a string of their best known hits, and a few new tracks to the audience’s delight. The likes of ‘Bad Boyfriend’, ‘Celestine’ and ‘Chevy Thunder’ are bonafide classics at this point and, importantly, the young crowd not only seemed to know the almost five-year-old songs, they genuinely loved them too. Ending on the classic ‘All the Sound Young Men’, it was as pretty perfect as a support set can be. If everything was right in the world, Spector would be headlining venues like this.

Cleverly, before The Magic Gang made their way to the stage, Concorde 2’s main room was filtered with the likes of disco classics, The Smiths and BROCKHAMPTON, which set the atmosphere alight for a hectic night in the company of arguably Brighton’s biggest band around. Kicking off with their first ever single ‘Alright’, The Magic Gang went through their catalogue with exuberance and a whole load of pizzazz. “We’ve been here from the start so to come back here is so special” stated frontman Jack Kaye early on in their set and if there was one word to describe this it would be special. To see a large group of young people this into guitar music is fantastic and euphoric.

It’s easy to forget just how many catchy, captivating indie numbers The Magic Gang have. With their burst of Brian Wilson-esque melodies, with a slightly heavier, grunge-inflected rhythm section, The Magic Gang brought indie bangers in abundance. With the likes of ‘Jasmine’, ‘Take Care’, and ‘Your Love’ dropped in the middle of their set to screams and shouts, it’s easy to see why they’re adored so much. They’re not only great pop songs, but they capture that sense of adolescence terrifically well.

After an encore which saw them race into ‘Life Without You’ and arguably their biggest single ‘All That I Want Is You’ and offer up an after party at The Western, The Magic Gang were gone – but this night will live long in the memory. Not only for the band, but for the hordes of young fans who won’t be forgetting this for a very, very long time. We’ve been there from the start, and it’s been an honour to follow the band all the way to this memorable moment.

Liam McMillen