Forgive us for patting ourselves on the back for a moment - we are six, after all, let us have our moment - but we're doing pretty darn well with the line ups for the Basement Clubs at the minute. But even by the very high standards we set ourselves in terms of providing an evening's entertainment, it's fair to say we excelled ourselves at this one. As a thank you for many moons ago granting the band their first review and the continued support provided (which shows no sign of stopping, we might add), Sean, Angela, Romeo and Michelle - The Magic Numbers, collectively - stepped down the stairs to the Buffalo Bar, returning as mega stars but without an ounce of prima donna celebrity twattishness about them, to wish us happy birthday. Lord, it was good to see them.
But much as we like rekindling old acquaintances, we're equally happy to be introduced to new ones, especially when they're as exciting a prospect as Mr. Hudson & The Library. Hudson himself stands centre stage in a handsome hat and tidy waistcoat, his soulful singing and upbeat guitar batterings sitting atop the backdrop provided by The Library, which is everything from hammered keyboards and beautifully warm harmonies to ridiculously funky basslines and possibly the first time a steel drum has ever graced the stage of the Buffalo Bar. They sound like they could do anything, which is why it's so difficult to pigeonhole - something we're more likely to revel in than find an annoyance. It wasn't just us who were impressed, as their hugely accessible and technically, compositionally remarkable sound seemed to find favour with every last person in the room. We'll not let this one out of our sights.
Horsebox mightn't smack as much of things to come as Hudson's lot, but their brief, frantic thrashings didn't suffer at all because of it. Midway in to their amiably boisterous set full of rampantly strummed strings and peculiar but welcome beeping, it became clear how much glee a spot on the stage was providing the band, and also that the three kids jumping about and admiring their every beat were absolutely loving it. Oh to be able to say this about every gig.
So a lot of us are either too cool to admit we're enjoying ourselves as much as those kids are (seriously guys, you were ace, and thank you for coming down) or just too old and jaded / arthritis stricken. But don't we just fawn over The Magic Numbers. Not solely because there's no way they should be playing somewhere so small. Not just because we know that within a few minutes we're going to be bellowing out loud words about love and sunshine with complete strangers who we'll treat like dearest companions. Not only because the new songs sound like some of their best yet. But for all these reasons put together and yet more on top, this was, like, totally cool.
You'd struggle to name a band whose songs just hang like that in the air with as much success as these compositions do. Quite often you'll struggle to pin point if there's actually anything going on for segments of quite a few seconds in a Magic Numbers tune whatsoever. And I'm not talking about there just being simple chords instead of twiddly solos, I mean that for some of their most tense, engaging periods, the 'Numbers don't actually seem to be playing any notes at all. It's incredible, and a testament to the musical skill of the quartet that they can hold the attention of a baying, drunken (though overwhelming with admiration) throng such as this - in fact, not just hold their attention but have them completely devoted.
If we're ever lucky enough to host them again, it'll be new song 'Take A Chance' that gets the loudest cheer, once it's been allowed to seep in to our consciousness in the way that the tracks from their eponymous debut now have. It's a development and refinement of that template - faster, tighter, catchier, more melodic even than that bafflingly tune filled debut. Of course, it's still 'Love Me Like You', 'Forever Lost' and the like that have us waving our hands in the air and singing like we wrote the lyrics ourselves.
But we have to now wait for that new record. And in the meantime, as is always the way the Basement Club even on a non-birthday celebration, there was nothing left for us to do but dance. It was our party. And we were going to play 'Sexy MF' if we wanted to.
Sincere, heartfelt thank yous to the Magic Numbers - LOVE x.
Photo Credit: Lorne Thomson - http://www.lornethomson.com