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Magnetic Concert Review

I worked for 13 ½ hours on Saturday. Around 11:30pm I pleaded with one of my managers to set me free. I explained that I had been at work all day, but more importantly that I had a concert to get to. A friend of mine was playing at a place called the Milan Pavilion. Caleb is the lead singer of a band called Magnetic. Ladies, if you’re a sucker for long beautifully maintained dreadlocks you might just melt if you saw my buddy Caleb.

The whole event of poetry, art, and music took place from 6pm to 2am and when I arrived with my friend and co-worker, Cesar, we perused the area admiring some art that was on display.

By the way, Cesar and I managed to dodge the cover charge. We must have looked lost but nobody bothered to point us in the right direction. We made our way through the back door while $10 was being collected at the front entrance. We only realized it once we were safely inside. That’s not the first time I’ve ducked the cover folks. I’m kind of notorious though I don’t try to be.

I trailed timidly behind Cesar as he made his way to the bar. I was a little apprehensive. I like a good dive as much as the next person but this place was just a bit sketchy for my taste. The red carpet and the odly and randomly placed outdoor-wedding-alter-type interior archways made me feel like I just walked into some kind of fun house. Or better yet, like I was entering the set of a horror film and at any moment the scary clowns were going to close in on me. Furthermore, when I glanced at the mounted television what I saw was an old Godzilla trailer. It was a step down from the House of Blues which was the last venue I saw them play.

It is evident that the group embodies a fusion of each members musical background. Caleb was raised on gospel but now plays the frontman with the soulful pipes. It’s not a surprising progression for him as soul originated from gospel, right? A more bluesy form of it anyway. The size and arrangement of Mike’s drums led me to believe that he was trained strictly as a jazz drummer, but Caleb informed me that he plays everything. Wu is the lead guitarist who, naturally, contributes harmonizing vocals as well. Throughout the set there were several moments when I found myself fixated on Rob Rrias and his bass playing. I have always been fascinated by the bass. It started years back when I saw Nickel Creek in concert and they had a stand in acoustic bass player. It was difficult to listen beyond the genius mandolin playing of Chris Thile to explore other components, but I did and I discovered that the bass was a very integral part of the whole. It was easy to listen to the bass guitar after I had come to that conclusion. Magnetic is one of those bands that allows you to focus on each part and clearly see how it fits in and what it brings to the overall soul, funk, and blues sound. I always say that my eyes can hear too. I say this because it seems as though you can hear one specific instrument so much better when you look at the person playing it.

They did a cover of Bill Wither’s “Aint No Sunshine” and Wu and Caleb alternated the 26 consecutive ‘I Know’s’ in the song. No, I never counted. My dad told me when I was little. The song came on the radio and our conversation went something like this, “Jen, guess how many times they say ‘I know’ in this song?” “I don’t know dad how many?” “26.” Now, whenever I hear the song I find myself asking whoever I am with if they know how many and, in most cases, when they don’t I will inform them.

It was during this song when I noticed that Wu looked like my boss Chad. Cesar laughed in agreement when I mentioned it.

I’m beginning to learn the songs as I’ve seen them perform three times now. If they had an EP, or even a demo, I would have them down for sure. Get on it guys! Oh, I’m just messing with you.

Most of the songs are really catchy. As Cesar said, “I want to sing along but I don’t know the words.” I’ve really come to like the song “Inevitable” which was played towards the end of their set. It has a nice guitar solo. Wu is like the sax player of a jazz band. You don’t need him for the beat but when he’s doing his thing all eyes are on him. I guess that goes for any lead guitar.

There is one song that stuck out for me the first time I heard them play. The song is called “How Long” and Caleb has pulled it from every other show I’ve seen. The song is calm and steady in its repetition until the little wrap-up jam session at the very end. The well written lyrics tell me that the song is about forgetting our insecurities. We must recognize what we have to offer and must, furthermore, expose those qualities from within us. If you follow the link above to the band’s myspace page you can listen to this song and others. Sorry I don’t have any embeddable audio for you.

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