Brighton boys The Magic Gang took the Albert hall by storm on Thursday night, performing songs from their debut self-titled album released earlier this year. For someone who has never attended the Albert Hall, it’s interior is striking. With modern-looking bars and restaurants either side of the building, I half-expected the venue to be quite similar, with a rustic tinge. I was mistaken. Through the entrance and up the stairs, you are immediately hit by a coloured light shining through the giant stain-glass windows.
With an average age of 15, the audience was collectively very young, glitter smeared across their foreheads and, frankly, not wearing many clothes. It was quite possibly the first time I’ve ever felt old at a concert, almost as though an entire festival crowd had been squished into a church. As the teenagers pushed their way through the herd of people to get to the front, the elders drifted slowly to the back, arms crossed and tutting, like the cool kids on the school-bus.
Kicking off the night were electro-indie-pop band Drip Gloss. They knew how to control a crowd, bouncing around on stage and urging the teens below to share the love amongst the mosh pit. With only one video on YouTube and less than 900 likes on Facebook, it was surprising to see how many people knew the words to their songs. However, this may have been because the lyrics were so repetitive and predictable. With heavy auto-tuned vocals and a lot of four-chord songs, their music left a lot to be admired instrumentally and could be likened to a more pop-y, less talented Pale Waves. Yes, they started the night with a great atmosphere and left everyone with a buzz, impatiently anticipating the next act. Unfortunately they looked cooler than they sounded.
London five-piece Spector was up next. The crowd screeched in excitement as the lead singer traipsed casually onstage in an outfit similar to Judd Nelson’s in the Breakfast Club. As they began to play, the floor shook with the amount of feet bouncing to the rhythm, and a large gap appeared in the audience as the drummer and bassist built up the tension. The mosh pit grew larger with every song, at which point the band had to stop to ask for the second time that night to pick up one another if they should fall. The gothic architecture of the hall combined with the rowdy teens and a miniature John Bender created an atmosphere of teen rebellion, like an unauthorised rave in an abandoned church. They made you feel apart of something. The music was enjoyable; typical indie rock lyrics, but lead vocalist Fred Macpherson brought them to life, adding colour to their set far beyond the cheesy stage lights.
When the main act arrived, the atmosphere changed slightly. Gone were the pulsating light beams, replaced with a humble yellow fog. The members of the band ventured on stage, clad in baggy brown suits and striped pastel t shirts, opening with a presence pulled straight from the sixties. Starting their set with ‘Alright’ from their eponymous debut album, the crowd became backup vocals, even imitating guitar solos with their voices. The boys were adored and they knew it, as lead singer Jack Kaye uttered “Manchester…” with a sigh of appreciation.
For the biggest headline show they’ve ever played – and “the most beautiful venue” they’ve ever played, too, Kaye urges – the band perform tremendously, well-rehearsed and feel-good indie vibes all around. The indie quartet also play beloved tracks such as ‘All This Way’, ‘Jasmine’ and ‘I’ll Show you’. | Although the screaming girls and ‘too-cool-for-school’ guys remained, the audience were less dangerously rowdy, too busy singing along with the band they’d been dying to see. The Magic Gang’s polished vocals and melody-driven sound topped the highs set by the support acts and more, leaving every audience-member satisfied with the night they had just experienced, me included.
The Magic Gang performed at The Albert Hall on Thursday 27th October 2018. Words by Sophie Cunningham.