Indie rockers The Magic Gang have announced their they have officially split and will be playing three final gigs here in the UK — and, thankfully, Manchester is one of them.
Having released a much-loved debut EP back in 2016, as well as two albums in 2018 and 2020, respectively, the Brighton-based foursome haven’t released new music since their last outing, have been quite online and slowed the pace of performance-wise, playing a handful of festival slots in 2022.
Confirming the news of the split via a heartfelt social media post, The Magic Gang members revealed that they’ll all be going off and “exploring their own creative pursuits” but that they’ve got three more shows to go before they say ta-ra.
Playing three nights from 21-23 May, Manc fans have one last chance to ‘Take Back the Track’ with a cult favourite when they play New Century Hall on Wednesday, 22 May.
Speaking in a lengthy post, there doesn’t seem to be any hint of the boys not ‘Getting Along’; in fact, writing rather emotionally about the journey the band has been on, it sounds like they’re focusing more on the memories they created over the past decade.
“This band started in 2013 in a bedroom in Kris’ parents’ house. I remember it was a sweltering hot day and me (Jack), Kris and Paeris were arguing over band names”, writes frontman and guitarist Jack Kaye.
“Kris wanted to start a band with around ten members, playing an array of percussive instruments and acoustic guitars. With this in mind, we settled on The Magic Gang and Paeris wrote it on the front of a kick drum to make it official.
“We recorded our first song ‘Bruises’ in our shared house in Brighton. Gus happened to be home at the time and was drafted in to play bass. There was something truly magical about that recording; a lightning-in-a-bottle moment you take for granted when you first start a band.”
Holding their hands up and admitting it had been a while since their last gig, the post goes on to read: “It’s clear to see how incredible the journey has been. We’ve travelled the world and have had the opportunity to share our music with anyone who cared to listen (and some who didn’t).
“We dedicated everything to the band and I’m so glad we did, because we got the world in return. For now, we’ve decided to call time on The Magic Gang. This band has always been a sum of its parts – four songwriters working in collaboration and doing our best to honour each other’s ideas.”
As detailed by Vice back in 2018, “Three members – Kaye, Krisitan Smith and Angus Taylor – were already frontmen in other projects” and confident vocalists in their own right who all just so happened to “share a love for The Beach Boys’ harmonies”, so the chances they were all going to go off and do their own thing was always there.
Drummer Paeris Giles and Taylor had already played together before too, so the potential for the pair to once again spin out together in whatever project comes next is also there. All we can say is we’re excited to hear what they all come up with.
They signed off by adding, “The most natural thing now is for everyone in the band to spend some time exploring their own creative pursuits. You’ll be hearing a lot more from all of us but for now, as The Magic Gang, we’d like to thank everyone who’s supported us over the years by playing a handful of shows.
“We’ll be playing a lot of songs we’ve not performed in years and covering everything from Bruises right up to now. Thank you and good night x”
Tickets for The Magic Gang’s official ‘Farewell Shows’ go live this Friday, 26 January at 9am — you can grab your tickets for their last-ever Manchester date HERE and, meanwhile, we’ll pretend this ‘split’ never happened and quietly keep our fingers crossed for a reunion somewhere down the line.
From a band together for over 10 years to once that’s spanned a whopping 52, they aren’t the only ones to announce they will be playing some of their final shows here in Manchester, as the mighty Eagles have also revealed they will be playing Co-op Live — the last dates they will ever play in the UK.
Hello Cosmos wow Stockport on a night where the venue shone just as bright as the music
We had the pleasure of going along to see Hello Cosmos play a special one-off show at none other than St Mary’s Church in Stockport town centre on Friday night, just the gig the building has ever seen and given how incredible an experience it was, we hope there’ll be many more.
Picture the scene: it’s a frosty Foodie Friday night in Stockport with people wearing beer jackets and sharing hot street food to keep warm as the tunes ring around the marketplace; then you spot some light off in the background and notice the windows of the old town centre church glowing.
Not only was that our signal to get a move on, finish our scran and head over to the intimate gig, but it was also a beacon of light for other punters to go and check out as they looked for any excuse to come in from the cold.
And that’s pretty much how it happened. Our three-man party was full of SK natives who wanted to see what it would be like to have a church we grew up with turned into a gig venue, so we were always on board, but plenty of other locals had the pleasure of simply stumbling upon tickets at the door.
We don’t think we’d be putting words in their mouths to say they will have been glad they did, as within a few seconds of walking into the oldest parish church in Stockport, we had never seen the already ornate and historical site look so stunning.
This wasn’t just a case of plonking some speakers and some drums near the altar like some half-arsed church fête, the roof, windows, pillars and various arches were all lit up by various multi-coloured projectors and strobes and it all felt pretty surreal.
If you’ve ever watched any kind of performance at Manchester Cathedral or a similar venue, you’ll know this kind of set-up is nothing new per se, but it did feel like something different for Stockport, especially when one of our party’s last memories was standing at the pulpit to read the Christmas story.
Then the music kicked off and we have to start by saying we were pretty impressed by the two support acts, Fondabath — fellow Stopfordians who were probably just as surprised to be in St Mary’s as we were — and Big Society, also local lads, both of which gave plenty of reason to go away and listen to more.
Then came the main event, Hello Cosmos, spearheaded by frontman and bass player Ben Robinson, who along with his jumpsuited bandmates wasted no time in transporting the crowd to what felt like a little pocket of space in some alternate reality.
Having had a few drinks and being given kaleidoscope glasses on arrival certainly helped, but it really was a truly audio-visual experience, from the various coloured jumpsuits and neon hula-hooping to the truly mesmerising light show that lit up the church throughout the set.
It all felt rather fittingly though when you take into account that Robinson is not just a musician but the founder of both Kendal Calling and bluedot Festival — I mean, even their sophomore album Golden Dirt has a glowing spaceman walking through a sea of sunflowers.
If you’ve never heard them before, think post-punk spoken word and almost Yard Act vibes, only if Christopher Ecclestone was on vocals instead. But their sound is truly sprawling, with ‘Fuse’ from their debut record giving the harder-hitting sounds and ‘Loud is Beautiful’ showing how they best intertwine electronics, keys and those oh-so-good horns from sax player Elara.
Be it jumping up and down in unison as the electric violinist played or Ben dropping to his knees to scream his head off, hopping off stage to walk around the crowd with a megaphone or releasing a sea of balloons from above for the big finish, this ‘Live at St Mary’s’ one-off special had a bit of everything.
It went from a little gig on a random winter evening in Stockport to an unforgettable one that SK-born gig-goers like us never thought we’d see in this particular borough of Greater Manchester whose culture and music scene are clearly thriving.
We really hope this is among the first of many — Hello Cosmos helped make it a success and we can seriously see the Live at St Mary’s series taking off if it continues to get the backing.