Magic Bus – Phillip The Egg

A chap who came to our door the other day asked me where I got my green sackcloth Nepalese  shirt from, and I explained that my wardrobe was largely topped up at festivals where I shamelessly bulk-bought band-related T-shirts and hippy clothing in the same way that others might visit TKMaxx in search of bargains. I compared it to the way that at same said festivals I always come away with some new music to follow based on some unexpected treat in a tent somewhere. Like the t-shirts  it keeps me going through a winter or several until I irreparably damage them.

Over the years this has seen me get into bands as diverse as Asian Dub Foundation (a Brighton 3-dayer, if I remember, where our tent got nicked and I got food poisoning from a Vietnamese noodle bar);  Subgiant (wondrous South Coast electronic dub), the Egg (classic festival grooves), and possibly best of all LaXula (Spanish gypsy music with a hint of burlesque). Last year at Kozfest it was Andy Bole. This year it could well be Magic Bus. And I’m beginning to wonder how they escaped my clutches for so long.

 

The marvellous video posted here shows the Magic Bus band in their full glory. Subtract the nattily turned out lead guitarist and the band could have been directly parachuted from the late 60s into the studio, and the music follows suit. In amongst the swathes of screaming guitar or the pounding reggae beats which pervade Kozfest, Magic Bus at Judge Trev’s stage were an altogether much more gentle affair. The Caravan comparisons are almost a given: strummed rhythm guitar and flowery vocals, an intense longhair hunched and rocking over a screaming keyboard which appears to be the main soloing instrument, and soaring flute lines recalling Jimmy Hastings. But there’s more at work here: on ‘Phillip the Egg’ alone, the band work their way through numerous sub-sections, shifts in tempo and mood to provide a really tightly scored composition stretched over many minutes. There’s even a spot of Van der Graaf ‘galumphing’ to increase the heart rate. Great stuff, can’t tell you much more at present on the basis of a short (frequently revisited) video and a late night gig at Kozfest. I can tell you though that the rest of their latest album sounds bloody marvellous too, but I’ve already outstayed my welcome streaming it on bandcamp so I’ll waste no more time and buy myself a copy forthwith…

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