A few times a week, Gothamist publishes music reviews by our contributor Jeff Baum. The opinions below belong entirely to the author.
I’ve seen a number of bands play the Bowery Ballroom over the last couple years that have gone on to do great things, but I have never seen the place light up like it did for the Magic Numbers last night. There was an unmistakable buzz in the room, humming louder than at any other show I've been to in recent memory. Something really special was going on.
This came as a complete shock to me. Of everyone out there, these guys? Don't get me wrong, I think they're an excellent band. Their debut album was a breath of fresh air from the sea of dance punk that's been flooding our shores from England of late. I could hear the potential for mass appeal from the first note of the album, but I never thought they'd be able to win over a Bowery crowd this way. Remarkably, they had. Kids were making out in each other's arms. Girls were holding hands and mouthing every word. Each person I came across, from the turtlenecked industry heads to the wide eyed fans in the front row, had a smile from ear to ear. In this sort of atmosphere, it was nearly unavoidable.
Each song, it seemed, was greeted by a bigger cheer than the last. If you hadn't ever heard them before, you'd have no idea which were their singles and which were mere album tracks. They even had the gall to cover a Beyonce song to kick off their encore and not only get the crowd behind it, but pull it off nearly flawlessly. By the time they finally exited the stage to the roar of 800 satisfied fans, the band nearly had tears in their eyes. Singer Romeo Stodart repeatedly and genuinely thanked the audience for making this a special evening for them. From the floor, the sentiment was shared. Hundreds of bands come through New York every year to be ignored by an indifferent audience who is unwilling to be impressed. For once, everyone was happy to be where they were. I go to show after show hoping for an experience like this one. Coming in with barely any expectations, I left last night having seen what may have been the most memorable show of the year.
See some pictures from the show here.