I blame it on the moon, but there were plenty of reasons why the Ironworks became a slightly rowdy love-in for THE MAGIC NUMBERS acoustic gig last night.
Four of those reasons were the Stodart and Gannon siblings, who were in what sounded like a post-hangover, glad-just-to-be-still-alive mood, following their gig the night before in Edinburgh.
Later Romeo Stodart confessed: "Because we’re doing stripped-down for this tour, we leave the stage and it’s like death metal, we party pretty bad. In Edinburgh, it got messy."
But there were no half-measures as the band rolled out a reminder of all the Magic treasures which made us love them in the first place.
Check ‘em off:
* amazing three-part harmonies
* melody abounding with singalongs encouraged
* an ability to arrange their songs in ever-more imaginative ways
* sometimes just exploiting the simple pleasure of the voices, guitars, keyboards and drums.
But there were twin glockenspiels, a massive newcomer – the double bass called Bill, Angela Gannon on melodeon and harmonium and both Angela and bassist Michele Stodart knocking all hell out of table-top drum boxes in stunningly-euphoric main-set finisher Love Me Like You.
But the set had started with a classy-sounding string instrumental and the stage circled in little white lights as the band came out to take a trip with us back to The Pulse from second album The Runaway.
The thoughtful and often heartsore lyrics of a Magic number are in place in that song "Is it the moon and stars above?/What makes you hurt?/What makes you yearn for love?"
But there was one guy in the crowd who simple yearned for more of the band and spent most of the night having an ecstatic but shouted conversation with the stage, suggesting songs and commenting on the action.
In Will You Wait from Michele’s solo album Wide Eyed Crossing from last year, she sang: "Will I wait for you my blue-eyed one?". But she was stopped in her tracks when the loud fan shouted out indignantly: "I’ve got brown eyes!"
Come to think of it, he was the one who brought up the moon in the first place.
Romeo – introducing the Magnetic Fields cover Papa Was A Rodeo – told him: "I know it’s a full moon tonight!"
And there was the slightly manic buzz in the air once the Numbers got going with a determined group of talkers at the back of the room murmuring through most of the set.
First off, local group Dorec a belle had been treated to an eerie silence that greeted opener You Got Me with its dreamy little coda before the pace picked up for the end.
Guitarist Maryann Frew said: "It’s quiet, that’s lovely.
"We’ve played some festivals recently..." implying they were used to noisier audiences.
Their set seemed more restrained and less relaxed than their last showcase gig at the venue. But with cello-player Imke away on holiday, it was nice to hear the double bass from Robin Abbot.
For those who know second support act Goldheart Assembly’s hit King Of Rome (referred to ironically as "our massive hit") from radioplay, the appearance of just James Dale and John Herbert from the five-piece might have left them feeling short-changed.
But with songs like Tula, Sad Stage, Tom Waits cover Clap Hands, the second-to-none banter, the well-blended voices, two acoustic guitars and occasional cymbal shimmer, you just wanted to hear more.
The Magic Numbers’ set was an eclectic mix of number from all three albums. The self-titled 2005 debut gave us Forever Lost, I See You, You See Me, Long Legs and Love Me Like You. Runaway from 2006 offered up The Pulse, The Sound Of Something and Throwing My Heart Away and from 2010’s Those The Brokes we got You Never Had It and Take A Chance.
But for fans itching to hear where the future might take the band, there were three big clues in Roy Orbison, Out On The Streets and Accidental Song.
Accidental Song’s lyrics spoke of a last bid to save a dying relationship "I’m down on my knees bending to break tonight". Their acoustic version of Out On The Streets was a lot different from the upcoming album one, Romeo said, strong lyrics including the line "you keep crying out to your devil inside".
Roy Orbison was a clever reworking of that singer’s own intense emotional sound and Romeo asked us to get into the spirit of the thing.
"We say his name in the second verse and then he’s in the room," Romeo smiled.
"When you hear his name, we want you to welcome him."
And we did.
But his wasn’t the only musician’s spirit conjured up by the band.
Angela flexed her vocal muscles a couple of times when she took the lead vocal, as in Throwing My Heart Away, showing off an A-grade bell-like yet soul-inflected sound.
But in one of the best songs of the set, Take A Chance, she added in her own Stevie Nicks tribute with a tantalising snippet of Rhiannon. And at the end of Accidental Song, we also got a hint of something strangely familiar, sharp-eared Christine in the crowd instantly identifying Carly Simon’s Coming Around Again.
But if the night was going to belong to anyone other than the band themselves, it turned out to be Neil Young – who features on the covers album the Magic Numbers thoughtfully put together and brought on tour as the upcoming fourth album isn’t, as Romeo put it "a thing" yet.
Romeo told us that someone in the audience had asked for Young’s Harvest Moon.
On the night of a full moon - and the references through the gig - it seemed a great choice.
"We want to leave with everyone singing," said Romeo.
He got his wish. And the band raised the euphoria level for Young’s mellow, love-song to crown a set of heart-warming acoustic Magic.
Outside, as we left after the riches of a set stuffed with ripe new songs, quirky covers and vintage oldies, it seemed the Stodarts and Gannons had laid on one last treat.
An unforgettable encore to their encore was rising through the dark - the real-life harvest moon.