King Tuts, Glasgow, 25 March 2018

AS they stride out in front of a capacity crowd at one of Scotland’s most revered venues and a location that’s played such a pivotal role in many vaunted success stories, there’s a mixture of excitement and precious disbelief on the faces of The Magic Gang.

The culmination of years of toil and relentless gigging as they steadily rose through the ranks of the “hotly tipped” and into a prospect that seemed to possess the necessary attributes to become an overground concern, it soon becomes clear that there is need for any apprehension or self-deprecatory expressions as they receive an emphatic welcome from the excitable young audience.

For some of the older and more world-weary attendees that have seen countless bands ascend to heady heights before being struck by a notable and unheralded decline, it would be easy to maintain an air of nonplussed cynicism as the crowd erupt in response to the electrifying strains of Oh Saki.’ However, as the track gains momentum and its rambunctious hooks engulf the venue, it seems as though this isn’t merely another flash in the pan that labels have unrelentingly marketed but a band that has cultivated a genuine foothold in the hearts of their fanbase. The opening track on their recently unveiled, self-titled debut album, the sheer zeal and enthusiasm with which the words are bellowed back at them in spite of it never having been a single is proof of how much the record has been wholeheartedly embraced by their fanbase with little to no hesitation.

Following faint pleasantries between band and crowd alongside grateful acknowledgment of how far they’ve came since they last played Tut’s to a grand total of 20 people, the intensity is picked up with riveting outings of two staples of their set in the form of the very apropos ‘All This Way’ and ‘Only Waiting.’ As though in an attempt to all but confirm their suspicions about the adoration and loyalty that the Glasgow faithful hold for them, they dip into their back catalogue to turn in a wistful take on 2016’s ‘Feeling Better.’ A track which was doubtlessly responsible for many of those in attendance falling in love with their candid and endearingly sentimental brand of indie-pop, it’s a meticulously timed precursor for three of their most hearfelt odes in ‘Caroline’, ‘Jasmine’ and ‘Take Care.‘ Whilst the two compositions that preceded it may have remained safety within the confines of the exuberant and jangly niche that they’ve carved out for themselves, the latter is a staggering and ambitious number which sees them dip into maudlin piano balladry in a manner that invokes the traditions of Lennon & McCartney in its emotive sincerity.

With every song being largely greeted by the sort of momentous response that would suggest it had been in the pantheon of rock ‘n’ roll’s repertoire of party anthems since time immemorial, the crowd were willingly situated in the collective palm of their hand by the time that the brazen ‘Your Love’, ‘How Can I Compete’ and their biting ode to tumultous inner-city life ‘Slippin’ brought the main set to a raucous close.

After little more than a few minutes’ absence, the Brighton-based four piece were soon back in front of their doting public for a plaintive, stripped back performance of ‘I’ll Show You.’ A song that encapsulates the fusion of solemn resignation and misguided hopefulness that can be found in all too many a fractured relationship, it further attested to the emotional depth and maturity that resides at the core of the band and will only grow in stature over the years to come.

As they bring the curtain down upon their first sold-out headline show north of the border, it is all too clear that The Magic Gang have the capacity to not only become fixtures of the modern indie rock landscape in the UK but have the ability to galvanise and thrill their fans in exemplary fashion. Set to return to the city for TRNSMT in July, it will be interesting to see how their set will translate to the vast expanse of casual observers that they’ll be in the position to convert at Glasgow Green but tonight’s performance would suggest that they’ll emerge unfettered and leave the city in jubilant spirits once more.