Magic Numbers - Manchester Academy 1 - 23.10.05

Some bands have enough substance to live through your whole life, other bands simply fill a gap in your life for brief periods and in many ways that's what Magic Numbers have done. We first heard snippets of their best moments when they supported Doves earlier in the year as those summer months were rolling in and like many people we fell in love with their twee harmonies and loved up vibes, but now with the dark nights and cold weather drawing in the Magic Numbers have lost their appeal. It's akin to looking through holiday snaps as you're sat their freezing in a damp student flat waiting for your last £1 of central heating to run out.

It's been a strange year for the foursome who've been ridiculed Michelle McManus style for their weight on TOTP by Richard Bacon, had numerous rave reviews over the Summer Festivals and been nominated for the Mercury Music Prize. On the latter you suspect if the Prize would have been awarded in August the band would have walked away with it with ease. But now is the real test as the band are in the middle of their biggest headline tour to date and the expectations are high. Sadly it's a fruitless exercise as they work through the album with the crowd in the main waiting for those bright lights, the singles we know and love, and to us it really shows that some bands work best as support band for the simple reason they don't have enough strong material to draw out over a 60 minute plus show.

Naturally  'Love Is Just a Game" followed swiftly by "Love Me Like You" get the crowd going as does a bizarre cover version of Beyonce's "Crazy In Love". With "Morning's Eleven" as their penultimate song the support bands The Webb Brothers and The Loose Salute join them on stage for the closer "Wheels On Fire". The image of The Loose Salute's lead singer baby in giant headphones isn't something you could have made up and the show ends with not just one family affair but a trio of family affairs.

There were peaks tonight's, but for the majority of tonight's set it was a real chore to get through which begs the question just how are Magic Numbers going to fair on album number 2. At the moment they're going against all the odds, but maybe next year they should just appear for those short summers months give us a glimpse of happiness and return annually for a real shebang

Words: Alex McCann
Photos: Karen McBride

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