When you’re stood in Studio 2 waiting for a band to come on, in its easy to forget you’re in Parr Street Studios, a recording studio complex that has been graced by the likes of The Smiths, The Stone Roses, Echo & The Bunnymen, Inspiral Carpets, The Coral and Stereophonics. I was reminded of that, when waiting for support act Inheaven, when Stockport band Blossoms arrived in the venue bar, fresh from an album recording session.
However, in the Studio 2 venue, the night was about two bands who feature in DIY’s Class of 2016 new bands. The first was Inheaven, the London quartet who The Strokes frontman Julian Casablancas recently declared his favourite new band. They released their debut single ‘Regeneration’ on his label Cult Records in the US earlier this year.With an 80s indie rock aesthetic and sound, they didn’t hold anything back despite the small crowd. New single ‘Bitter Town’- out on Friday- was the stand-out track of the set. With a fuzzy post-punk guitar sound and echoing snarly vocals: ‘Ignore the sycophantics, embrace the young romantic’. Frontman James Taylor ended Inheaven’s support slot in true rock ‘n’ roll style by smashing his mic stand over with the neck of his guitar before throwing it to the ground.
Easing into their set, The Magic Gang started with tracks ‘Lady, Please’ and ‘She Won’t Ghost’. Despite a slow-paced start, the audience- now pressed up to stage- got into it straight away. The Brighton quartet graced the room with their unrivalled stage presence.
Playing new single ‘Jasmine’ and an older one: ‘Happy Birthday’, they demonstrated their vocal abilities, with the two lead singers Jack Kaye and Kristian Smith sharing the role harmoniously like a young Carl Barat and Pete Doherty. Drummer Paeris Giles and bassist Angus Taylor also chipping in when required.
‘Alright’, a well-written melancholy tune, which is one of The Magic Gang’s best songs and instant classics, was impressive live. But it was ‘No Fun’, the loud, rough-around-the-edges single that put a spotlight on this band at the start of this year. It prompted a mini mosh pit in front of the stage and brought the night to a climatic ending. Despite the fact that The Magic Gang have said they don’t make music like No Fun anymore so it irritates them that people judge them from that one track, it seemed like a fitting finale.
The Magic Gang have yet to play small venues in Sheffield, Newcastle, Glasgow, Leeds and London on this tour and some tickets are still available.