Friday, 17 March 2017

Totnes gig at Unit23, part 2: Magic Bus

Well, the Invisible Opera Company of Tibet had got our evening off to a great start. The place was now filling up with an interesting selection of the colourful and goodly folk of Totnes, ready for one of tonight’s headline acts, the fantastic, Magic Bus. We discovered Magic Bus a couple of years ago, and if you've stumbled across my past blog posts about them, then you'll know I dig the bands sound and the atmosphere of musical joy they create. Magic Bus are Viv Goodwin-Darke on flute and vocals; Paul Evans on guitar and vocals; Terence Waldstradt on guitar and vocals, Wihll Mellorz on bass, Mitch Pike on drums and of course Jay Darlington on all things key and twiddly; all are splendid musicians and masters of the craft. I always feel uncomfortable about 'they're like' statements, though do it all the time,  it's a useful descriptive tool. So, if you like that 70's Canterbury psychedelic prog sound, with a soup├žon of West coast and a handful of mushrooms, you'll f*cking love Magic Bus, they're in that tradition, it's the organ/flute/harmonies combo thing. I really dig the fluty/organ sound combo, which create the ethereal stream of wistful magic which meanders through all the 'Bus's' tracks. Lovely! As expected tonight’s performance didn't disappoint, in fact from the get go tonight the band took their performance to new heights. Whenever we've seen them they've delivered great performances, tonight though they were cooking on gas. Maybe it's because Totnes is home territory, that the band appeared really relaxed, in a way we'd not seen them before. Maybe it's the addition of a heavier drummer (not in any way a criticism of previous drummer Connor, who is a top drummer and lovely chap), that the tracks seemed performed with added gusto. I don't know. Whatever the reason, there was a different energy this evening and a sense of freedom and joyful abandon in their performance. They kicked off with 'Sunflower', off of 'Transmissions from Sogmore's Garden'; a sunny afternoon under dappled sun type of a song, a beautiful track to create an uplifting atmosphere.  And, we were off on a magical bus journey. They played a nice mix of favourites from their previous two albums, and a good sprinkling of new songs from their forthcoming album too.  All took you smiling through worlds of psychedelic bliss.  Their new tracks have a jazzier flavour to them, still distinctively Magic Bus though; they certainly all sounded great. I'm definitely looking forward to their upcoming release, released in a month or so, on vinyl too! The jazzy sound made a complimentary addition to the bands more established psychedelic, folky, prog, rock sound. Paul mentioned the influence of Gong on them, that's no bad thing, I can think of worse things to be influenced by.  We all take influence, it's where those influences take our mind and creativity that's important. And Magic Bus have clearly created something of their very own, you know a Magic Bus track when you hear one. Every track was played to perfection. The best Magic Bus performance we'd seen, by a country mile, and I've thought every performance we'd seen has been bloody marvellous. Everybody was having a whale of a time, and the band looked like they were really enjoying it too, all smiles (it was the smiley-est I'd seen Jay, who usually looks quite studious), and that's what it's all about, everyone having a good time. Well, job done. A big thanks to the band, the venue and the inhabitants of Totnes who made for a memorable evening. I can't wait to see Magic Bus at the Avalon Weekender, nor wait for their latest waxing. Check Magic Bus out, or lose out, it's as simple as that.

Now, Gong!

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