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In concert: Here We Go Magic at Black Cat

here we go magicLuke Temple led Here We Go Magic through a propulsive set of tunes Sunday at the Black Cat. (All photos by Kyle Gustafson/FTWP)

By Mark Jenkins

Frankly, Here We Go Magic could have lost the smoke machine. The quintet, which headlined Sunday night at the Black Cat, is roughly the 50th Brooklyn band to visit Washington this year to showcase a "hazy'' sound. So the vapor wafting from stage left was redundant. Besides, the most engaging thing about the group's set was the muscular propulsion beneath the misty
melodies.

here we go magic

Begun as a solo studio project by singer-songwriter Luke Temple, Here We Go Magic hasn't merely become a real band. It's become a groove band, playing steadfast vamps that draw from Feelies' hyper-strum guitars and Neu! and Can's "motorik'' beat. At the Cat, such already-pulsing songs as "Hibernation'' and "Casual'' were extended with hammering intros, droning keyboards and churning rave-ups.

Some of this was to be expected from Magic's new album, "Pigeons,'' which underpins its bleary tunes with lockstep drum patterns and doubletime bass lines. But the band's high end tends to go very high, with two female voices complementing Temple's tenor and falsetto. All five band members sing, and they didn't neglect the harmonies Sunday night. Yet the overall effect was surprisingly earthy, with nods to the blues and passages set to Bo Diddley's trademark thump.

For its encore, Magic reached back to its first album for "Everything's Big,'' a waltz-time number that started delicately but soon began to growl. The effect was so dramatic that it altogether dispersed the musical haze, if not the machine-generated fog.

here we go magic

here we go magic

By Click Track  |  August 9, 2010; 2:05 PM ET
Categories:  In concert  | Tags: Here We Go Magic  
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Comments

I pretty much agree--if anything, it only seems a little understated. This was an incredible show.

I was curious to see how Here We Go Magic would pull off their complex, dreamy sound live. The fact that they were not only pulling it off, but taking it to completely new heights--and all with live instruments--was pretty mind blowing. I think there's definitely a stronger word than 'growl' to describe where these songs were headed.

Posted by: marcfishman1 | August 9, 2010 2:32 PM | Report abuse

I pretty much agree--if anything, it only seems a little understated. This was an incredible show.

I was curious to see how Here We Go Magic would pull off their complex, dreamy sound live. The fact that they were not only pulling it off, but taking it to completely new heights--and all with live instruments--was pretty mind blowing. I think there's definitely a stronger word than 'growl' to describe where these songs were headed.

Posted by: marcfishman1 | August 9, 2010 2:32 PM | Report abuse

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