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The Magic Numbers

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The Magic Numbers
The Paradise
March 24, 2006

By Sam Ostrow
Contributing Writer

I guess that this could be called an unabashed letter of thanks and praise to The Magic Numbers for giving me one of the best live concert experiences I've had in months. I had seen them a couple of times before, one of those times being right across the street from the Paradise at Great Scott just a few months prior, but it was at this show where they really achieved greatness.

The Magic Numbers are over here in the states again mainly to do the United States spring/summer festival circuit with a performance on the 17th of this month at SXSW, an April performance at Coachella, and a June performance at Bonnaroo while slipping in some local club dates when schedule permits. With these high profile gigs and the continued praise by the music press of their self titled debut record it's a good possibility that Friday's show may be the last time I will be able to see them in a venue as intimate at the Paradise.

I arrived a half hour before The Elected were set to hit the stage and the sold out crowd was nowhere to be seen and I easily secured a spot leaning on the stage just right of center. Right on time the lights went down and I got my first glimpse at what this band of leather clad men from Albany had to offer. Blake Sennett (better known as Rilo Kiley guitarist/co-songwriter than for his work with The Elected) is small in stature and with his wide brimmed hat and moustache looked a bit like a young countrified 70's western star, but it was his aggressive yet tender voice and multi-instrumental talent that immediately shone through. The Elected's music reminded me of a modern version of The Band with soaring 3 part harmonies and guitar twang to spare. Each of the musicians on stage was not only proficient on their respective instruments but showed mature restraint and served the song rather than themselves. Basically they were a stunning opening act and I was left thoroughly impressed yet still buzzing with anticipation for the real reason I was there.

The Magic Numbers took the stage to thunderous applause as the sold out house finally showed itself. They worked their way through a few songs from their debut record. Elating the crowd with "Try", "Love's A Game", and "Forever Lost", before quieting down with the chilling ballad "I See You, You See Me". It was at this point where I began to notice the amount of people around me singing along gleefully to the delight of the band. I know that they have a radio single and all but for a relatively new band from England they sure have made fans over here in a hurry. They then proceeded to run through a couple of new songs, the titles of which I'm not sure, but these songs hinted that what we're likely to see on their sophomore record will be in the same vein as their first.

It was at this point it the set that Romeo Stodart, displaying the huge grin that never seems to leave his face, gushed his thanks at the enthusiasm of the Boston crown saying that at the last few shows they didn't really have the kind of response from the fans as they would have liked but that their last time in Boston (at Great Scott) was one of their favorite shows of their last tour, and that this night at the Paradise may just top that. It was this moment that seemed to really ignite the band and audience and from this point forward the sharing of energy between band and audience and back to band again was just beyond description. Every face I could see around me was filled to the brim with smiles that could only be topped by the ones on the band's faces. I know that it may sound a bit cheesy but it truly was a joyous experience.

The band left the stage after 11 flawlessly executed songs and the crowd pounded and cheered for an encore. They responded with not one but four songs including their radio hit "Mornings Eleven" and "Wheels On Fire" which was preceded by Romeo saying that in England they sometimes have the crowd sing along and if we'd be so inclined to please do so. The show closed with a song called "Beard" (why this is the title I have no idea), a rollicking country tinged number which included another audience sing along and ended with bassist Michelle Stodart up on the drum riser triumphantly pounding out the coda. As I said earlier, this may be the last time I get the chance to see such a great band in so small a venue which was the only let down to an otherwise perfect evening of music.

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