Tonight’s gig was originally scheduled to take place in March but, like every good thing in life, was delayed due to COVID-19. The room has been waiting a long time for this gig.
First on are The Goa Express from Manchester. Unassuming in tee shirts and jumpers, swigging from cans of Red Stripe, they make music akin to 70s art punk – Television and Modern Lovers with occasional Mancunian hints of 80s baggy and Oasis, some harmonica thrown in. New single Everybody In The UK is one to seek out.
The last time The Magic Gang played Cardiff they performed at the significantly smaller Clwb Ifor Bach but they manage to upscale to the Tramshed’s stage well. They blast their way in with past single Think, playing a 12 song set with material mainly from their debut self titled album and 2020’s Death of the Party.
For their hard core appreciators they give an outing of Hotel Apathy from EP Three, announcing to the eager horde that they don’t usually play this one. A sweaty version of Teenage Fanclub-tastic Caroline is the apex of the night.
Lead vocal duties swap between Eddie Vedder doppelganger guitarist Jack Kaye and Rivers Cuomo facsimile guitarist Kristian Smith throughout with bassist Gus Taylor taking over for What Have You Got To Lose? As the main set comes to an end, Jack Kaye grabs a towel from the ether to dry off after a particularly sweaty couple of songs, then turns his mic about to the crowd for some audience participation and the crowd sing the Brighton boys lines back to them with a massive degree of gusto.
Two of their strongest numbers – Death of the Party’s lead single Take Back The Track and the 2017 indie club smash How Can I Compete? are stored up for the encore and as the band leave the stage they go to the sound of Atomic Bomb by William Onyeabor playing over the speakers, which sounds funnily like one of their own biggest singles.
After nearly a two year wait, this was solidly a night worth waiting for.