Be Good / Magique – The Cellar – 14/12/17
The current glut of Oxford talent is quite stupendous given the diversity, aptitude and sheer creativity of the multitude of bands currently working their way through Oxford’s historic venues. Be Good are no exception, their sumptuous take on tender alt indie has not only enflamed local appreciation but also interest from archetypal tastemakers Communion Records who released their latest single, Nightbus, at their alter.
Their headline show is therefore somewhat overdue, such is the traction the lads have amassed over the last twelve months, and with 2018 looking like a defining year, Be Good could well have been ripped from the cozy bosom of Oxford music before a proper baptism.
Before Be Good swoon into focus, Magique, the brain child of Leicester based songsmith Cj Pandit, take to the iconic Cellar stage. Armed with a beautifully pliant and compelling voice, Pandit having the dexterity and sensitivity to pull off the most emotive vocal capabilites, we are treated to a gorgeous array of pop inflected, soulful and subtle compositions. Magique truly connect with their work, creating a blissful but barbed live performance with pathos and passion in spades.
Then to Be Good and to Ash Cooke who sets the tone for their entire performance with an opulent and ghostly, stripped back opening track which echoes and reverberates around a crammed but hushed home crowd. As their set subtly builds and peaks, Be Good keep a leisurely but meticulous throughway of charming choruses and lilting numbers which show a rare vulnerability not often seen in a bravado inducing industry.
Be Good’s live sound is fuller and more resonant than their recorded work suggests, giving the impression we could swim in the tonality and timbre of their music, such is the rich and luxurious nature of every guitar chord and luscious vocal line. And with chorus lines that have a knack of gently entering the consciousness and swirling around for sometime after the final curtain, Be Good have something both truly unique and unashamedly inclusive.
In our current highway of ubiquitous and homogenised guitar music, it is always a privilege to witness musicians who find distinct alleyways and passages to weave their narrative away from the mediocrity of the colourless and jarring musical motorway. Be Good navigate desolate avenues with such agility and innovation that they seriously run the risk of becoming a great deal more than merely local favourites. Give them a listen. Be Good to yourself.
4 / 5