The Magic Numbers/Shout Out Louds : Kentish Town Forum, London, Thurs May 12

No-hit wonders give London a sneak preview of this summer’s sunshine ‘shroomadelics

Forget about all your Christmases coming at once. For The Magic Numbers, try throwing in a couple of birthdays, Valentine’s Day, Diwali and a solar eclipse and you might get close to how Romeo, Angela, Michele and Shaun are feeling tonight. They’ve only released one ‘proper’ single, but already they’re headlining the Forum – a venue usually reserved for more established artists like Dinosaur Jr or James Brown – in front of a crowd so adoring they applaud guitar solos. For this set of harmony-soaked siblings it’s a dream come true.

It’s not exactly Doomsday for the support band, either. With folk-croaked anthems ‘Little By Little’ and ‘The Comeback’ sounding like euphoric future hits, a nymph-like keyboardist called Bebban and singer Adam looking like a Backbeat-era Stephen Dorff, we offer you the Shout Out Louds from Sweden: the festival band. Next year.

For 2005, that accolade will be going to The Magic Numbers. Months of touring with Doves and Athlete and ever-increasing word-of-mouth have propelled their live show from a fumbling, shuffly affair to a stomping rodeo, as exemplified by bassist Michele’s gleeful dancing. Like any family, there are traces of intimacy and tension and it’s an evening of tiny moments – in boozy ballad opener ‘The Mule’, Romeo sings the line “You just might see me smile”, before launching a 10,000-watt grin. During radio favourite ‘Forever Lost’, people sing and clap along with Angela’s tambourine, while ‘I See You, You See Me’, a delicate duet between Romeo and Angela, is so intoxicating it makes the upstairs bar redundant. Stepping up to sing her verse like a nervous child playing Mary in a nativity play, a cheer goes up for Angela, who consequently forgets her words and falls apart laughing. When she finally pulls it off, her voice is like gospel. There’s a celebration of life going on tonight and If you haven’t been converted yet you might find the church is nearly full.

Cat Goodwin

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