Blur debut new album ‘The Magic Whip’ at tiny fanclub gig

The band played their forthcoming new LP in full at London club Mode

Blur played a fanclub-only preview of forthcoming new album ‘The Magic Whip’ at West London club Mode this evening (March 20), treating the 300-strong crowd to each of the LP’s tracks, in the official album order.

Earlier, in the afternoon, the band played the same set for a friends and family audience. The evening show began at 7pm. “So obviously, we’re going to play our new record ‘The Magic Whip’ in sequence from beginning to end,” Damon told the crowd, who’d applied to attend by ballot. “Are you ready?”

The show began with the album’s opening track, ‘Lonesome Street’ and a sound that wouldn’t have been out of place on 1996’s ‘The Great Escape’. Albarn sprayed water from a bottle over the front rows halfway through the song, and the group’s backing vocalists, who were perched on a balcony above the right of the stage, whooped along to the outro.

The low-key ‘New World Towers’ followed, sonically evoking Albarn’s solo album ‘Everyday Robots’, after which Albarn introduced the band’s backing vocalists, string section and additional drummer.

During a heavy version of ‘Go Out’, the first track from the album to be made public, Albarn fronted up to the crowd to encourage them to sing along to the lyric about “going down the local”.

‘Ice Cream Man’ and ‘Thought I Was A Spaceman’ took the set into more offbeat territory, the latter comprising a programmed beat and ambient chords before moving to a noisier sound. Albarn went shoulder-to-shoulder with guitarist Graham Coxon at the point where his backing vocals were due to kick in, and later held aloft a tambourine with a printed image of two hands clapping as Coxon’s pealed squealing screeches from his guitar.

Crashing beats, chunky riffs and synth sounds introduced the next track, ‘I Broadcast’, which saw spotlights stalk the stage, before another change of pace to the semi-acoustic ‘My Terracotta Heart’. ‘There Are Too Many Of Us’ had a thumping, military beat, and Albarn crouched down at stage front during the loose, breezy ‘Ghost Ship’.

‘Pyongyang’ – inspired by Albarn’s travels to the North Korean capital – brought a darker atmosphere before ‘Ong Ong’, with its catchy chorus and “I want to be with you” lyric, saw the group beaming throughout. After, Albarn tested the sing-along-ability of its chorus by repeating it to the crowd, then said: “That’s paid for my ice creams then.”

The weighty, heavy ‘Mirrorball’ closed the album portion of the show, after which Albarn said: “Thank you that was ‘The Magic Whip’. We’re going to play one last song, one we’ve not played for 20 years. But thank you all.” They concluded with ‘Parklife’ track ‘Trouble In The Message Centre’.

Comedian Josh Widdecombe, in the crowd, said of the show: “Brilliant. Amazing. It made me very excited to hear the album. It made me very excited for the whole shebang that the summer of Blur of will be. To do a gig of new material and it go down like that is amazing. When I do new material I’m shitting myself so for them to do that they must have felt the same way!”

Blur recently debuted a new song ‘There Are Too Many Of Us’. Listen to the song below, now. The band release new album ‘The Magic Whip’ on April 27. The band have already released lead single ‘Go Out’.