Magic Man headed to Bowery Ballroom

By Carter G. Shelter


The last time Magic Man played Bowery Ballroom was a late night set at a CMJ showcase in 2013. Their popularity has grown wildly since the release of their first major album, “Before the Waves,” last July, and they return to the Bowery this weekend to play a sold-out show, one of three upcoming dates in the city.

This is the band’s first tour as sole headliners, and singer Alex Caplow promises they’ll rise to the challenge. “We’re taking advantage of having a longer set time,” he said in an interview. “It allows for some more variety and better flow of songs; throwing in some deep cuts and some early tracks, some of the first songs we ever wrote that were part of our self-released album, “Real Life Color,” and new songs that we just wrote in the last month.”

Caplow also mentioned that they’ve upped their production, and the performances this time around will feature a full light show that was specifically tailored for the set. “It should be anext-level show; a whole visual/audio experience.”

In terms of crafting the best possible set list for the tour, Caplow described how the band “works through all the different transitions.”

“Sometimes we’ll try different combinations where we immediately know something sounds off or that the two songs actually go really well together.”

The band likes to throw in covers for new fans who might not be familiar with their own songs. “It’s just always fun to have a moment when everyone knows the words and can just sing along together,” Caplow told us. The practice harkens back to their earliest days playing college parties and basement shows. “We’d play ‘Remix to Ignition,’ we played ‘Float On’ by Modest Mouse; just big songs that everyone would know and go crazy to,” Caplow said. “Recently we’ve been playing ‘The Middle’ by Jimmy Eat World and ‘Dancing In the Dark’ by Bruce Springsteen. Crowd pleasers.”

“Our goal is always to get the audience moving, and to do that we end up going pretty crazy ourselves,” Caplow said. “In college, our sound system was so bad that you’d have to make up for it with raw energy and sort of going wild and getting everyone dancing.”

Caplow says that if the touring life ever becomes too exhausting for him way down the line, he thinks he could find happiness as a songwriter. “In my head I can come up with these big pop melodies but sometimes my voice can’t carry it as well as I hope so… I can see myself collaborating and writing with other artists and not actually having to get on stage and sing it.”

But for now, Magic Man are riding high. Their three New York shows are sure to be an exciting run of performances from a band that is just now capitalizing on their first wave of real success. (Tickets are still available for their intimate show at the Knitting Factory on Wednesday.)

Carter G. Shelter is a contributing writer. Email him


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