Arts music review

Summer sparks are in the air

Magic Man charms the crowd before Boston Calling

6868 magicman
Magic Man performed at NAGA for Gilt City’s Better Than Backstage Boston Calling kick-off party.
Ofir Nachum—The Tech

After finishing a tour with alt rockers New Politics and playing at a variety of music festivals this spring, Magic Man was ready to jump straight into their first performance at Boston Calling. The synth rock and pop band calls Boston home, having spent part of their college years performing at house parties and local live music venues. Joey, Magic Man’s drummer, even reminisces about visiting MIT for Bexley’s Beast Roast party during his time at Berklee.

Although the band is at home in Boston, founding members Alex and Sam actually wrote Magic Man’s first songs in France while working on organic farms their freshman summer. One of the farms they worked at hosted a circus festival where they befriended a young French magician who called himself “the magic man.” He inspired the band’s name and was the first person to hear the music that was to become the band’s first album.

We caught up with Magic Man members Alex (vocals), Sam (guitar), Joey (drums), and Gabe (bass) before they took the stage at Gilt City’s Better Than Backstage Boston Calling kickoff party.

The Tech: What is your favorite song to perform?

Sam: We used to do a cover of “Ignition,” remixed, by R. Kelly. That was always fun. Of our songs, I really like “Texas,” because it has a lot of energy, it’s faster paced, and we go a little crazy at the end.

TT: What is your favorite song at the moment?

Sam: “Scott & Zelda,” by our friends Tiny Victories. It just came out three days ago. It’s a cut from their album, which is coming out in June.

Alex: My favorite song is by a new band called Photocomfort. They just released their first single called “Dawn Sequence.” It also features two members of Magic Man, Gabe and Justin.

Gabe: Spoiler alert.

Joey: The song that’s playing right now, I really love it [smooth jazz]. But Chromeo’s “Frequent Flyer” is my new favorite right now.

Sam: My favorite song that I listen to while running is “Old 45’s.”

TT: Do you want Magic Man to keep an indie vibe? Is that intentional?

Sam: We want no one to know about us, but to be incredibly wealthy.

Alex: We want one billionaire fan who just supports us.

Sam: I would say that indie sound you’re talking about is definitely closer to the music we want to be making than straight up what you imagine pop stars’ music to sound like, though now the line is getting very blurry. Our dream is that we can be popular and have our songs on the radio, still making the type of music we’re making now.

TT: What can we expect from Magic Man in the future?

Alex: We’re gonna play a show tonight, here. We’ve got an album coming July 8. We’ve got our first headline tour also starting July 8 on the West Coast. We’re gonna be touring all summer long with Panic! At The Disco and Walk The Moon.

Sam: Pretty much once the album comes out, we’re hoping to stay on the road as much as possible, playing as many shows as we can, traveling to as many new places, meeting new people, falling off more stages.

Joey: I don’t wanna put any spoilers out there, but look for Magic Man with the reincarnation of Michael Jackson coming next fall.

Sam: Alex has been practicing his back flip all spring.

Alex: It’s still pretty bad, but we’re gonna put it out there. And Sam has been practicing his vocal solo.

Sam: They won’t give me a mic, but it’s really good.

The band members kept up their cheerfulness throughout the night as they performed at the kickoff party, which took place at NAGA, a trendy restaurant, bar, and nightclub near Central Square. But while the decor says “hip and modern,” its sound system says “mom’s old car radio.” This was first noticeable during the opening act by DJ Big Phyll, whose early 2000s hip hop sounded like pirated 128 kbps MP3 files through NAGA’s deplorable speakers.

The poor quality of the sound system was further confirmed when the band started playing, and nearly all sounds were overpowered by Gabe’s bass guitar and Joey’s drumset. Alex soon realized this while talking to the crowd in the packed club, but led the band in powering through with energetic dancing that was matched by the crowd’s enthusiasm.

Ending with Magic Man’s most popular song, “Paris,” Alex ran into the audience and encouraged everyone to sing along. It was clear that the audience was filled with Magic Man fans when a chorus of voices joined in for a triumphant finish.

Magic Man is gaining fans fast and will likely soon be topping charts. Look out for their new album, Before The Waves, in July, and check out their dreamy EDM-style remixes.

Editor’s note: This interview has been condensed and edited for clarity.