On The List :: Magic Man @ Fete Music, Providence, RI [3.28.13]

By pressing a heart icon, some 2,500 people have indicated their affection, maybe even their love, for Magic Man's latest single, "Texas" on the Hype Machine. More than twice this number fell in this sort of "like" with the band's other recent single, "Paris", a song that drives at heretofore unknown spot between the Cure and Passion Pit. In the past month or so, this was good enough to make the band one of the most discussed and buzzed about bands in certain corners of the admittedly cavernous Internet. On this night, a languid and clear weeknight in Providence, RI, Magic Man played to far less than 5,700 or 2,500 people. This is the quietude before the noise, and there exists a rather substantive gap between what happens on the Internet and what happens in a midsized American city on a Thursday.

The band opened with a song off their coming LP, a song they know and their audience doesn't. The main lyric is, "what are looking for?", which represents an appropriate rhetorical question for the Providence five-piece to ask of the label and A&R community. It was also an enormous opening movement. Frankly, given the sound coming from the stage, it was abundantly clear that this band is going to make themselves and someone else loads of money in 2014. Frenchkiss Records should come calling, and if they don't, Glassnote should, and if they don't, the majors should take a long look. Unconcerned with these long-view derivatives, the set built into old material, "Darling" from Real Life Color before transitioning back to the two recent singles, "Paris" and "Texas". It wasn't just a mediation on places; this is West Providence, Olneyville, a neighborhood that houses noise bands, lower-middle class moral victories, RISD student lofts and a weird, half-hearted gentrification. There are no miracles here.

The band thanked the audience at the end of their set, joking with the sound guy to, "cue that sad Ryan Adams music". Obliging, the sound guy played a piano ballad that wasn't from Adams' catalog, causing the adorable Magic Man keyboardist to say, sardonically, instructively, "Sadder." The band packed their gear, chatted with three fans who approached the stage, and I turned to the bartender and said, "you'll remember this band in a year's time."

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