Review by Camber Sollberger
Magic City Hippies (MCH) welcomed fans under the energy of the first full moon of 2024. On Thursday January 25th, they performed in the Deluxe room at the Old National Center along with openers The Palms and Josh Fudge.
MCH was originally formed in Miami as the Robby Hunter band, and their clothing was reminiscent of the warm Florida nights we are missing right now in Indianapolis. Their brightly colored, flowing shirts matched their cheerful, energetic dancing. The crowd was not able to match their outfits due to cold and rainy Indiana weather, but that did not mean they could not match their energy. You could tell the crowd was filled with many fans as many danced and sang along.
Early on in the show, frontman Robby Hunter donned a curly wig and large sunglasses, really digging into those beachy roots. I am glad I had my sunglasses on me, because I was constantly blinded by their strobing lights that would flash to the beat of their songs. I enjoyed other aspects of the lighting, like the glowing M C H letters that sat behind the band. The lights often gave a halo effect to the members or gave the crowd something pretty to look at while the band transitioned between songs.
Their music is aptly described as indie funk. They often had funky rhythms, and the keyboard used interesting samples that added original aspects to the music. I often felt like songs would go on for quite some time, or maybe the songs sounded similar enough that at times I could not tell where one began and the other ended. There was not a lot of difference in pitch or tempo between verse and chorus in many songs, leaving the changes in tempo till the end of the song. The final minute of many songs were increasingly upbeat with wild lights, and it gave the band members an opportunity to dance and interact together on stage.
I prefer upbeat, dancing music when I go out to shows, but I enjoyed when MCH slowed down for a bit and played “Garden” which was performed by two of the band members, self proclaimed best friends: guitarist John Franco and keyboardist Jake Pinto. It was one of my favorites I streamed before the show and it was cool to hear it in a different rendition.
MCH performed a number of stunts to fire the crowd up. Robby Hunter celebrated on stage with a bottle of champagne, and he often danced around the stage or made love to his mic stand. Near the end of the set, the band began to interact with the crowd more and more. The frontman jumped down to dance with the crowd and sing along with fans, and keyboardist Jake Pinto took a keytar out into the VIP section. My personal favorite was when Pinto jumped up onto the metal light rigging, hanging down and playing his keytar. You could tell the band was having a great time on stage. The band members mesh well together. One can feel their friendship throughout the performance, and I loved seeing them interact with each other and the crowd.
I attended the show with friends and had a lovely time. One of them even caught a nasty, sweaty towel thrown into the crowd. If you are into the new indie funk sound that is growing in popularity, I recommend catching Magic City Hippies while they are still on their 2024 Winter