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Bands with BU Roots Go to the Middle East

Magic and Wesley at the venerable local venue


You Can Be a Wesley also plays music. Photo by Steven Kleekpo

Central Square’s Middle East has featured an eclectic variety of musicians over two decades; playing there is a goal of many local and not so local musicians. Tonight two bands with BU alums are joining a five-band show at the Middle East Downstairs: Magic Magic and You Can Be a Wesley have local roots, and both have garnered national attention.

Magic Magic is a five-piece group based in Allston. Their musical signature includes complex vocals combined with double drummers. Bassist Demitri Swan (MET’07) met bandmates John Murphy, Brendan Hughes, Michael Hlady, and Dylan Gough through the Boston music scene. Until recently, the band has been touring mainly in the Northeast, veering cross-country to hit the South by Southwest music festival in March. But Magic Magic has received surprising press across the Atlantic and recently was invited to tour in London. Friday’s show will be their first since returning to the United States last week.

“The coolest thing about this show is that it’s keeping the momentum going from the UK — we felt really excited and compelled to deliver over there,” says Swan. “It got us to fine-tune our live sound, and on Friday we hope to capture that same energy.”

You Can Be a Wesley’s Saara Untracht-Oakner (COM’09), Nick Curran (COM’09), Dan Goldenberg (CAS’09), and Winston Macdonald (CAS’09) met in West Campus as freshmen. They started writing and playing together in BU dorm rooms, recording their first songs in the basement of Claflin Hall.

Local venues started picking up the indie-pop band and now bassist Curran calls Allston’s Great Scott his second home. Boston weeklies have been kind as well; The Boston Phoenix just chose the single “Creatures,” produced by Nick Zegel (COM’07), as its song of the week. YCBAW’s first album, made with the help of Boston’s Pretty & Nice front man Jeremy Medicino, is due out in July.

The rest of tonight’s lineup at the Middle East includes two more local bands, Bon Savants and Hallelujah in the Hills, as well as Cymbals Eat Guitars, a New York City group that has generated buzz for its versatile album Why There Are Mountains.

Magic Magic and You Can Be a Wesley have become tight, playing gigs side by side over the past two years. “To be able to play at the Middle East Downstairs is amazing in itself, but we get to play with our friends, too,” says Untracht-Oakner of YCBAW. She predicts that tonight’s show will be “mind-blowing and face-melting.”

Sounds like a good way to start Memorial Day Weekend — not to mention the summer.

Catch both bands at the Middle East Downstairs, 472 Massachusetts Ave., Central Square, Cambridge, tonight, May 22. The show starts at 8 p.m. for an 18-plus crowd. Tickets are $10 in advance, $12 at the door.

What are you psyched to see this summer? Let us know in the comments below.

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