Review: The Magic Gang @ Scala 28.09.16

The Magic Gang at Reading Festival 2016
The young, artsy crowd that's gathered at King's Cross venue, Scala, is exactly what you'd expect of the stereotypical The Magic Gang fan. Decked out in mom jeans, bomber jackets and (mostly ironic) lenses, the average age amongst the huddled masses is 17 and it's a good job security thoroughly checked each and every ID on the way in, as any youngster would sell a limb or two to be part of the riotous crowd assembled in North London this evening. 

The Brighton-dwelling four-piece perceive youth in a way our parents never could, and that's mostly because the band are just out of their teens themselves. Their tracks are littered with references to the things that interest the youth of today the most. Perhaps it's this that makes them so damn appealing or maybe it's their infectiously feel-good melodies, but whatever it is the formula undoubtedly works. 

The Maccabees' Felix White is nestled away in the throngs of the crowd somewhere near the front, there's even rumours of Florence Welch tucked away at the side of the venue but whether anyone actually saw her is a different story. Regardless of the (speculative) star sightings, the focus remains firmly on the matter at hand - what is to become the gig that everyone who wasn't in attendance will wish they'd been there for. 

Jack, Paeris, Angus and Kristian storm straight into 'Lady, Please' after receiving a welcome fit for a superstar and evoking an almighty roar from the already fired-up adolescent crowd. The whole of the ground level never stops bouncing and moshing as sheer mayhem ignites with euphoric renditions of 'She Doesn't See' and the hazy riffs of 'Jasmine'. 

There was no doubt that The Magic Gang had the swelling crowd eating out of the palm of their hands, even when they played new material, such as 'Only Waiting' and 'All This Way' from their recently released second EP. 'She Won't Ghost' incites singalongs of grand proportions and heckles of adoration, which proves they've come on leaps and bounds. A year ago you wouldn't find everyone at their gigs singing the lyrics back to them, but now it's only to be expected. 

As the hit-fuelled set reaches a climax, the group tear through the already adored tones of 'Feeling Better' and 'Alright'. The venue is then reduced to one great, big, heaving mess when the foursome return for an encore to play 'No Fun', which is a reality that looks nothing like its label.

Today's transition to a bigger stage with the most submissive of crowds feels seamless and completely within their capabilities. The universal jubilance at Scala tonight is not one that will be forgotten anytime soon; The Magic Gang have once again evidenced just how unstoppable they are and how effortlessly they own every venue they play. 

Words Lauren Wade

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