The Magic Numbers at Union Chapel
The breathtaking Union Chapel only improves on further acquaintance. Tonight the stage is set for an acoustic rework by British favourites The Magic Numbers. A venue this intimate shows off super fans, an excessive amount of them sporting berets; there is tangible excitement in the chapel, heightening as the band make their dramatic entrance.
Tonight is about strong harmonies and thoughtful percussion. Opening with The Pulse, the band set the tone for the whole evening of highs and lows, a musical journey. This is definitely a show for fans, playing to their desires – a newcomer is unimpressed. Unexpected changes in pace shake things up for the better; Forever Lost is a crowd favourite, saccharine sweet and romantic with a Celtic edge.
The sound tonight is entirely different to that on record – while this is the point of this tour, it does mean The Magic Numbers’ essence is a bit lost. There’s just something a bit confusing about the whole thing – this acoustic show takes everything distinctive about the band’s music and leaves it on the porch on the way in.
Saying that, the venue’s acoustics are entirely complementary to this new style. New tracks like Shot in the Dark are very promising – gravelly vocals and compelling melodies, reminiscent of Jack White. These songs are stronger than the acoustic translations of older material; they’re warming and all-encompassing, and the country feel is surprisingly moving.
There’s a multitude of musical talent onstage, appreciated by the loyal fans in the pews. Damned Anyways is a bit of a misfire but it can’t be denied that all these musicians do this for the love of it. This feels like a big departure from their records – almost unrecognisable – but it’s a damn good show.
Take a Chance is downcast rather than tongue-in-cheek, but it doesn’t seem to bother the crowd who, following an onstage love-in including Ed Harcourt for the encore, remain on their feet for a confident standing ovation. The Magic Numbers are loved, and rightly so.
Photos: Adam Bennett
For further information and future events visit the Magic Numbers’ website here.
Watch the official video for Love Me Like You here: