Artists: MAGIC GIANT, The Federal Empire
Venue: The Troubadour
Date: December 4, 2019
I make a point, every week, to listen to my Spotify “Discover Weekly” playlist, which the app so lovingly curates for me based on what I’ve listened to and favorited in the past. It was this weekly dive into new music that first introduced me to MAGIC GIANT, with their acoustic version of “Window,” and I quickly dove even deeper into the band’s full catalog (which is, as of yet, small). Despite only having one album, they’ve already been making waves across the music scene, including being labeled one of “10 Awesome Bands playing Coachella 2018” by Billboard.
Along the same lines as AJR (another band worth seeing live, if you get the chance), MAGIC GIANT writes and produces their own music, and they also direct and produce their own videos as well. Made up of members Austin Bisnow (lead vocals), Zambricki Li (viola, banjo, harmonica), and Zang (acoustic guitar, cello), they are not only great musicians, but they use their influence to work towards preservation of the environment. Their merch booth only boasted t-shirts that were repurposed, and their debut LP was recorded from their solar-powered mobile recording studio. On top of that, they committed to planting a tree through a non-profit partner with every album sold at shows, and have already created a mini forest with thousands of trees where their throw their annual Camp Misfits 4-day weekend.
MAGIC GIANT brings an energy to the stage that I haven’t often seen at live intimate shows. Their performance at the Troubadour was reminiscent of the first time I ever saw WALK THE MOON, when that band was simply an opening act that wasn’t well known, yet owned the stage with a level of fun and energy that made them outshine the band they opened for (in my opinion), and I quickly ran downstairs to their merch booth to buy whatever music I could. It’s not surprising how they blew up quickly in the years that followed. In this instance, MAGIC GIANT was the headliner, and I foresee them taking off in the same way that WALK THE MOON did all of those years ago.
Opening for them was The Federal Empire, another Los Angeles based band consisting of Chad Wolf (platinum selling Carolina Liar) and Grammy nominated songwriter, McKay Stevens. They did a short, but very fun and energetic opening set that really got the crowd warmed, ready, and pumped for their headliner, and I intend to seek out more of their music as well.
From the moment MAGIC GIANT walked on the stage, they owned it. The three main band members were joined by a bassist, drummer, and saxophone player, and even Zac Barnett (from American Authors) came up to join them for a track.
Side note: MAGIC GIANT and American Authors are touring together starting in January. Check out the cities and dates on their website and get yourself some tickets.
They set the stage with the single that lead me to seek out more of their music, “Window.” Synchronized movements, crazy dancing, and flying kicks while playing made it hard to take your eyes off of this band as they performed. The saxophone player they had with them made me drop my notion that I was sick of bands adding saxophone to their songs lately, simply because this saxophone player WAS sick! He peeled out tunes with a soul and fire I haven’t seen in quite some time (not to mention his jacket was everything and I want one). The band did a great job of taking their familiar tunes and adding riffs in between to really get the crowd cheering, including a multi-band member drum interlude that had me on my feet.
This show was designed as a release party for their newest single, “Disaster Party,” which can be listened to now on Spotify, but we also got a few other sneak preview tracks that should be on their upcoming album (which they are currently working on at The Bunker, in Silverlake). I eagerly await the new album, as their entire first album, In The Wind, is fantastic!
If you have a chance to check out this band live while they are on tour, do it! You won’t regret your decision to see this up and coming musical joy. I went home with a vinyl copy of Window Acoustic, which features acoustic and instrumental versions of songs from In The Wind, most of which can be found on Spotify as well. Take some time this week to check out In The Wind, in it’s entirety, on Spotify: