Gig Review: The Pipettes and The Magic Numbers

By london_ken Last edited 179 months ago
Gig Review: The Pipettes and The Magic Numbers

We were planning on reviewing The Pipettes' headlining gig at Rendition tonight but a change of plans led to Londonist going to see them at The Borderline last night, where they were supporting The Magic Numbers (err, left).

Londonist's favourite word used to be serendipity until Hollywood decided use it as the title of a very soppy film; after last night, it might just come back into favour. We're still smiling like loons...

The Pipettes are a Brighton-based band formed from the desire to put the fun back into the live scene. Louis Walsh et al would do well to catch a Pipettes gig to see what a proper pop band looks like. This lot have got something for everyone: gorgeous girl singers for the boys to fall in love with and pretty indie boys at the back for the girls; dance routines for the young and the drunk to copy; abundant energy for those who don't think 'fun' is a dirty word; an obvious appreciation of pop history for musos; most of all, they have killer tunes.


Taking The Shangri-Las, The Ronettes with a dash of Toni Basil's cheerleading Mickey, The Pipettes perform a set full of short pop songs which never outstay their welcome. They bring to mind a noughties version of Kenickie but with different music history teachers. Or, to be accurate, they probably had the same teachers but chose to tread a different path with the occasional forays into other territories. Judy Is A Bad Influence is a good example with its change of pace into a ska-like rhythm. Of the other songs, One Night Stand is the most impressive song on the night for us, with a particularly nice dance routine involving scratching nails. (Perhaps we're giving away too much about ourselves with that particular comment...)

Pop shouldn't be about focus groups, celebrity coaches and tv contests. Pop should be fun, it should have intelligence, it should have sex, it should have soul. If you're sick of the indie moping polluting our 'alternative' airwaves, you need indie sunshine and your prescription should read 'The Pipettes'. We'll be writing a lot more about this lot.

The Magic Numbers headlined last night and having had so much fun watching The Pipettes, Londonist fully intended to catch a couple of the headliners' songs before leaving early to avoid subjecting ourselves to the misery of public transport at closing time. We even got as far as the bottom of the steps to the exit when something kept us there for one more song. 'One more song' lasted the rest of the set, as Londonist became absolutely mesmerised by The Magic Numbers folky, country, guitar-pop. There's witchcraft afoot in their melodies, we felt like one of the Pied Piper's entranced children, such was The Magic Numbers' pull on us.

We hope we'll be able to report on The Magic Numbers more fully very soon, but to give you an idea of what it's like at a Magic Numbers gig, think of the euphoria of The Polyphonic Spree but with four people on stage instead of 40. Think of melodies that will can make you laugh and cry, sometimes at the same time. This lot are the real deal, and we suggest you get yourselves to a gig if you possibly can. They're signed to Heavenly, and been picked up by the NME (but don't let that put you off), this lot will be absolutely huge if there's any justice in this world. Honestly, we haven't felt this good in a crowd since Neil Shipperley put the ball in the back of the net in the 2003-4 Division One Play Off Final.

Next week's gig is sold out but tickets may still be available for Tuesday 7th December. Check The Borderline website for details.


The Pipettes

The Magic Numbers

Last Updated 24 November 2004