The Magic Numbers are back on the road and are touring most of the UK as they debut material from their soon to be released 4th album. I was one of the lucky ones who managed to get a ticket to see them play at the Princess Pavilions in Falmouth on just the second leg of the tour. Just as the previous night and most of the remaining tour dates, the gig was a sell out and this just goes to show how popular the band still are. Knowing very little about the band other than hearing the odd song of theirs on the radio I was expecting a night of indie pop rock but I had been fortunate enough to have a quick chat with the band’s frontman, Romeo Stodart, before the show and he filled me in on what to expect. His enthusiasm and passion for the band’s long awaited 4th album was infectious and I could have talked with him all night. One of the most interesting things to come from our chat was to find out how meticulous the band had been in the recording process for the 4th album, and to hear that they had found it a much more relaxed album to record as they had no time limits and worked in spells with breaks in between rather than recording solidly for a short period of time. Romeo explained that this had been a great help, and the tight knit group had a good idea of what they wanted to record from the start and that after the recording breaks they would tweak things until they felt they had the perfect song.
Support for the night came from India Bourne and Goldheart Assembly. Both proved to be the perfect appetiser for the main event. Up first was the beautiful and multi-talented India Bourne whose set unfortunately started whilst I was talking to Romeo, so I ended up watching from the side of the stage where I could just see her back. India is probably best known as the bass player for Ben Howard, and after hearing her amazing voice tonight as she sat playing her keyboard I am surprised that Ben hasn’t used her talents more on his album. Her chilling vocals mixed with just her keyboard filled the hall where the expectant crowd sat relaxed in their seats but unfortunately this was to be her last song so I will have to keep an eye out for her future tour dates.
I now made my way from the backstage area to the main hall where I had just a short wait before Goldheart Assembly took to the stage. Being an acoustic performance meant just two of the band played but what a show they put on. Their sixties-style folk sounded at times like The Hollies mixed with The Mamas and Papas. The two band members looked at ease on the stage as they joked with each other and the crowd between songs and you could have been forgiven for thinking these guys were the headliners. These guys have a swagger in their step and if this performance is anything to go by it’s only a matter of time before they hit the big time. The mix of harmonies between the two of them blended with the acoustic guitars was superb, and the more scaled-down sound from their usual full band leaves me wanting to see the whole band play, but I don’t know how they can improve on what they created tonight which was something special. They left the stage to a loud applause, so obviously everyone else enjoyed their set as much as me.
After a short break a row of lights lit up along the front edge of the stage and The Magic Numbers made their way onto the stage. Dressed rather smartly, they introduced themselves and started to play. Right from the very start, the band’s harmonies were there for all to hear and coupled with their music it was turning into a very special night. With the band sounding so good it was hard to believe they were not at full strength. Bass player and birthday girl, Michele Stodart was suffering with a sore throat. It was quite refreshing to hear a band in this kind of form. The fact it was an acoustic gig emphasised just how good they sounded, as a lot of this sound would have been lost if they had been blasting out their tunes. It was nice to be able to hear all the music but also be able to talk as well. Unfortunately this also meant that when someone’s phone started to ring you could hear it all around the hall and everyone looked around to see who was being called. With this in mind, I could not believe that the woman whose phone it was answered, and rather than go outside or tell them to ring back the lady continued to talk loudly for most of the song, rather to the annoyance of the three girls sat behind who could not believe what they were witnessing. When she had finally finished I felt like the room should applaud or at least the band could ask if everything was OK but nothing was said and the gig continued. Song after song of mixed harmonies and beautifully blended music wowed the crowd who sat on the edge of their seats enjoying the performance. I thought that at some points Romeo’s voice sounded rather like Phil Collins mixed with Peter Gabriel whilst Angela Gannon sounded a lot like Fleetwood Mac’s Stevie Nicks and Christine McVie, only better. Now that’s very impressive vocals, and I was glad to be witness to it and it’s hard to imagine that it could have been even better if Michele wasn’t suffering from her sore throat.
Whilst all the band apart from Romeo left the stage for a quick cigarette, Romeo informed everyone that it was Michele’s birthday and asked them to sing happy birthday when prompted at the end of the next song. The rest of the band returned and at the end of the next song, when prompted, everyone sang happy birthday to Michele and the tour manager appeared from the back of the hall with a cake with lit candles blazing. Michele blew them out and the entertainment continued. With an 11PM curfew the band played right up till the deadline and their hour and a half set had just flown by. The band left the stage but told the fans that they would be out at the merchandise stand in a couple of minutes to sign things and have a chat with people. This is something that all bands should do and all credit must be given for their attitude towards the fans who had come to see them.
The tickets were not expensive to see a band such as The Magic Numbers but being joined by India Bourne and Goldheart Assembly ment they became amazingly good value and I would go and see any of them again. This was only the second night of the tour so there are plenty more dates across the UK for you to get to see them so make the best of this chance and you won’t be disappointed. If you go to one of the remaining dates perhaps you could purchase a copy of The Oaklands Sessions that Michele Stodart worked on with children from Oaklands Primary School in Hanwell, West London. It’s for charity so dig deep as it’s a great sounding record and a fantastic charity.