It’s a packed out, older than usual crowd that The Magic Numbers are faced with when they arrive at Cyprus Avenue. Despite the band’s relative obscurity in recent years, they’re met with an excitable, large audience and waste no time settling into riling that crowd up with their jangly, summery indie rock anthems. For the most part, the four piece settle comfortably into their set. They play with charismatic ease and it’s clear the act know their way around a live performance – combining banterous interjections with extremely tight, professional playing.
However, the biggest issue facing The Magic Numbers seems to be their settling role as a nostalgia drenched band. New cuts off their recent release ‘Outsiders’ fall largely on deaf ears, failing to get the crowd going. This lack of engagement is obvious to the band and becomes most evident with penultimate song ‘The Keeper’ when their questioning of whether the audience knows the lyrics to the track is met with a limp response. The band’s frustration is clear through their humorous but also potentially half serious call out that the crowd are ‘lying bastards’. It’s a pity that the reception to new songs is so restrained when cuts from ‘Outsiders’ actually bring out some of the peaks of the set – combining their melodic takes with gentler, better thought out musicianship. It’s not too far from the type of work acts like Fleet Foxes and The War On Drugs get great praise for and the frustration of the band can be justified.
The Magic Numbers finish up with pop anthem ‘Love Me Like You’ drawing a massive singalong from a crowd who seem to have been waiting all night for it. The Magic Numbers appear to have all the right ingredients but something is stopping them from moving beyond the limitations of their past success. Perhaps the age gap in the crowd indicates an inability to engage younger indie audiences or maybe it’s their status as a one hit wonder band but whatever it is doesn’t stop The Magic Numbers from making for a charming, enjoyable time. Kelly Doherty
Photos by Silvio Severino