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Magma Live

Christian Vander’s Magma are the best live band in the world!

Le Triton: think Soho’s Marquee club, or Ronnie Scott’s, but perhaps more intimate.

The tried-and-trusted home to Magma’s annual multi-date events, it’s week three of this year’s 12-day residency and we’re here for a 48-hour blowout. We watch the fervour build from the Triton bistro as a fan walks past with a large brass Magma logo welded to his skull… OK, perhaps it’s on his hat. The queue for front row bragging rights spills out into the road, black attire de rigueur. Eventually we move inside and happily make camp at the rear bar, where there’s no sound quality deterioration.

Our nine heroes ease themselves into Köhntarkösz Anteria and in no time we’re hooked into this now-classic opus. Philippe Bussonnet’s monstrous bass demands our attention, only to then be upstaged by Christian Vander’s mesmeric drumming, before even that is trumped by Hervé Aknin and Stella Vander’s vocal pyrotechnics.

KA is now far better than its studio version, with more sophistication applied but with no loss of energy. The riveting Om Zanka kicks in before a cliffhanger Hallelujah chorus has us joyously applauding. We recover with a five-minute respite before the real onslaught starts as Köhntarkösz fills the room. This 70s masterpiece remains perhaps Christian Vander’s greatest achievement and what we witness tonight has no peers and mimics no elders.

If KA was brilliant then the following night’s Köhntarkösz is truly from another planet. Vander is in his element while Bussonnet puts his foot to the floor, sending us into oblivion. By the time we reach the work’s jam section, James MacGaw is ready to take centre stage, where he delivers a blistering guitar solo.

Post-interval, it’s time for the mighty Ëmëhntëhtt-Ré. Vander stands up to deliver his legendary, defiant Hhaï soapbox address as his demonstrative fists crash into the cymbals. He sits down to rousing applause and the piece moves through the gears until Bussonnet goes berserk on Zombies. A guy behind us makes noises of appreciation usually reserved for the boudoir (we don’t turn around). When Bussonnet’s astonishing ‘Grand Zombies’ acrobatics kick in, the crowd are nigh-on delirious.

No bias intended [_Ha! _– Lives Ed], Christian Vander’s Magma are the best live band in the world. Once seen, you’ll never judge another concert by the same drumstick again.