The Magic Gang, Our Girl, Boy Azooga at Tut’s, 25/3/18

I should have known when I arrived on St. Vincent Street and saw the long queue formed outside that tonight’s sold our gig at Tut’s would be something special.

We were here for the self-titled debut album launch from Brighton’s The Magic Gang.

 

After a long hard winter this gig heralded in British Summer Time and the three acts on the bill all do their bit to bring on the sunshine.

Cardiff rockers Boy Azooga get things underway with their eclectic blend of influences from the 80s/90s.

Vibes of disco, new wave and even some surf vocals are all thrown in for good measure.

The four-piece rattle through a 30-minute set of crowd pleasers with catchy choruses and pounding beats from a tight rhythm section.

They open with ‘Taxi To Your Head’, which effortlessly Segway’s into ‘Tambourine’.

‘Go Out Raise the Dead’ features four on the floor pounding drums and infectious guitar riffs before they morph themselves into a 90s-synth pop act for ‘Face Behind the Cigarette’ with a keyboard intro and disco beat to match the best of them.

They even bring a Big Country air to proceedings on ‘Full House’ with its chanting chorus, handclaps, and time signature changes.

Undoubtedly a talented bunch with maybe just one too many influences for their own good.

Next up from Brighton is Our Girl, a cool vibey power trio from the Sussex town that’s spawning so many great new bands these days, such as Dream Wife and Tigercub.

They get things off and running with the autobiographical ‘Our Girl’ featuring deep floaty vocals from lead singer Soph Nathan and Dave Grohl power beats from drummer Lauren Wilson.

These guys make a big noise for a three-piece and excel at that quiet/loud dynamic that Nirvana did without ever losing any intensity or pace.

This group of musicians excel at taking a riff on a twisting, turning adventure of a song.

Their closing number shows them at their mighty best as they pose and pout for a sell-out Tut’s playing the ballsy ‘Boring’, which has echoes of Radiohead’s ‘Creep’.

Their garage rock ’n roll attitude and big stage presence makes them easy on the eyes and ears.

These were two great support bands but there is no real doubt who are all here to see tonight.

Over the years Tut’s has played host to many expectant audiences and ‘next best things’ and with The Magic Gang’s album already #12 in the UK charts they are riding high with their blend of catchy tunes, sing a long lyrics and preppy good looks.

It’s really no surprise that they sell out Tut’s to an adoring, mainly adolescent audience.

From the moment drummer Paeris Giles entered the stage and sits behind his vintage Ludwig drum set and starts laying down those infectious beats he has the place literally jumping.

For a band who’ve just released their debut album, I’ve never seen an audience who could effortlessly sing every word of every song at the top of their voices; at times, I swear the sound of the audience singing was louder than the band.

A track from the album, ‘Caroline’ sounds a bit heavier than the rest but is still full of those hooky vocals and rock-solid rhythm section.

These are festival friendly songs that sound like old friends on the first hearing.

“Glasgow, you are so fucking sick” they look genuinely taken aback by the welcome they receive in this wonderful old room tonight.

After a long cold winter when The Magic Gang hit the stage it really does feel like summer has finally arrived.

‘Feeling Better’, from their first EP, with its shuffle feel slows things down just a notch or two.

“Please help me sing this one if you know the words” implores frontman Jack Kaye and of course there’s not one person in the room that doesn’t know the words; except me.

Don’t worry if you missed them because you’ll be seeing them at festivals all summer long.

They finish up with ‘Take Care’, a piano led ballad with an 80s feel and a 10cc style middle eight with sickly layers of wonderful sugary vocals.

In fact, all that’s really missing from Tut’s tonight is a mirror ball.

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Words/Photos: Allan Lewis

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