It’s an odd site – even at the Fringe – to see a group of respectable middle class ladies getting so involved in a rendition of Back in Black by a group of singers. ‘Bloody fantastic’ one uncontrollably yelps out as another fans herself from excitement. Everyone is clapping along and sporadic whistles pepper the stage.
Then again, perhaps it was just the heat. Yet The Magnets are certainly no ordinary singing group. Think of them as cross between a barber shop quartet and a ‘man band’ – possessed by the hyperactive spirit of Michael Jackson.
Drawing on a wide range of music The Magnets manage to provide a seamless performance of unaccompanied renditions ranging from bagpipes to Bon Jovi. Their synchronized execution of harmonies and vocal percussion give the group a highly polished feel.
Yet like Jackson, they often walk that precarious line between ‘cool’ and ‘weird’ and it is hard to see where the heart of the show is about. Andy, for example, stunned everyone watching with his ability to produce a wall of percussive sounds with his only prop being the seat he was sat on. Yet this side of The Magnets sits slightly uneasily with their more suave image as a cappella singers.
Still, the group definitely managed to get the crowd involved – something many shows fall pathetically short of. I half expected by the end of the performance – by which time the entire audience was on their feet dancing; old ladies thrusting through the Jackson five Blame it on the Boogie – that balloons would fall from the ceiling and we would all mob the stage, hugging and kissing. Definitely Magnetic.
* * * *