Live Music Review: Magic Numbers @ Union Chapel

By alexetc Last edited 115 months ago
Live Music Review: Magic Numbers @ Union Chapel

Magic Numbers - Union Chapel.jpg In these tough times, charities are again looking to harness the power of music to raise awareness, and Crisis are lining up a series of ‘Hidden Gigs’ to highlight how people disappear once on the streets.

Tonight begins with a pair of songs each from two singer-songwriters who have both experienced homelessness themselves. Next up sees a set from the Coastguards, featuring Dan Michaelson of tongue-in-cheek country-popsters Absentee. This project sees Michaelson enter more reflective territory, though however morose his impossibly deep voice may seem, his knack for writing well-turned 70s-style pop continues to shine through.

Next the DIY orchestra that is Fanfarlo bring their surging folk-pop numbers and the kind of stately military marches beloved of Arcade Fire and Beirut. Of our homegrown folk-pop collectives, Noah and the Whale might take the edge, but this is infectious stuff. David Kitt is over from Dublin at the request of tonight's headliners and delivers a short set of earnest, clear-voiced folk.

Finally the expectant crowd are rewarded with a long-overdue appearance by The Magic Numbers. Opening with a new song is a bold move but playing the bittersweet “There’s A Sound” at full tilt, with Romeo Stodart’s distinctive, impassioned voice and a tumble of drums, it’s a welcome return, proving you can be both melodic and meaningful, soulful without being saccharine. “Hurts So Good” and “Restless River” showcase a more introspective side, the former tentatively biting its lip, pared back and gospel-influenced, and the latter mixing reclusive 70s pastoral folk, gorgeous three-part harmonies and trippy effects.

Plucking older songs from their first album, “Love’s A Game” sounds refreshed after their spell away, and around the girls’ harmonies Romeo segues into The Impressions’ “People Get Ready” in a spine-tinglingly spiritual moment. As the power is abruptly pulled at curfew, Romeo decides to play final track “Love Me Like You” acoustically at the front of the stage, and the audience reciprocate the good vibes by singing along with every word. With the band set to return with their third album soon, it’s time to believe again.

The Crisis Hidden Gigs series continues with Noah and the Whale on 24th June. For tickets and further information visit

Last Updated 23 June 2009