The Magnets
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The Magnets


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The best kept secret in music


"Edinburgh Evening News - 4/5 Stars"

Magnets show they have pulling power

IT must be great being a roadie for The Magnets. No guitar amplifiers to lug up endless flights of stairs, no drum kits to assemble, no PA speakers to transport from one town to the next.

Yes, life must be pretty laid back for The Magnets’ technical team. All they have to worry about is pressing the band’s suits and making sure their microphones are plugged in - because The Magnets don’t use any instruments - all they need are their voices to produce a cappella singing straight from the gods.

The Magnets’ Fringe show is a celebration of their adventures in the music industry since first coming to Edinburgh as youthful buskers seven years ago.

We find out how they became Tony Blair’s favourite band, Geri Halliwell’s backing band and what it takes to be a boy band, albeit an unsuccessful one.

Swaggering on stage, The Magnets are the epitome of cool. Confident, they know they have a rare talent - and they know the audience is going to love it.

One by one, the boys reel off an amazing array of vocal sounds and pitched mouth noises that create the illusion of listening to a full, live band.

At first it’s hard to take in what’s happening. As one member of the band makes percussive sounds, another provides subsonic bass vibrations. The rest fill any gaps with free-floating harmonies.

Full of great songs and amusing anecdotes, the band’s set is consistently punctuated by video messages of goodwill from their celebrity fans. Barry McGuigan puts in an appearance as do comedy duo Mel and Sue.

And following a mind-blowing solo display of tonsil acrobatics by human drum machine Andy (Iceman) Frost, Little Britain comedian Matt Lucas pops up at the end to congratulate him: "With lips like that, imagine what he could do for you," he says.

Over the course of an hour, tunes made famous by Elvis (A Little Less Conversation) and The Turtles (Happy Together) go down a treat. As does The Magnets’ "hit" - it charted at No 77 - All The Wrong Reasons.

The highlight of the show, however, comes with a demonstration of the lessons they learned at "boy band school". Here, the lads pull off a series of hilarious poses and dances, while maintaining they’re not bitter at being dumped by a major label.
- Edinburgh Evening News

"The Scotsman (2004) - 4/5 Stars"

Band on the Break

THE Magnets are emphatically not a boy band. Age has seen to that. They are more of a man band but they have been to boy band school and still irreverently employ many of the trappings of the teen pop genre. They know how to bust a boy band move, pose like a boy band, dress alike, pastiche a boy band video and pen a gloopy lyric. They also understand the importance of meeting and greeting their fans. There are six of them in the band, surely enough to go around - and each has a distinct look and role.

But unlike your average man band, the Magnets play all their instruments themselves - with their voices. This 21st-century barber shop sextet are the Swingle Singers of pop, using human beat box techniques to imitate a range of sound effects, from a syndrum to the scratching style of a hip hop DJ.

But these are mere details. The Magnets’ raison d’être is to make it to the top of the charts. So far they are 76 places short but their Fringe campaign is gathering steam, supported by a droll filmed introduction by Simon "don’t call me Cowell" Callow and further video endorsements from Nicholas Parsons, Tim Rice and Barry McGuigan. That’ll work.

For their part, the Magnets provide a confident stage presence, slick inventive renditions and an audience-tickling sense of humour. Westlife were never this funny, not even unintentionally.
- The Scotsman

"Western Morning News"

Unique and Astonishing - 21 January 2005

Supporting Tom Jones at Powderham Castle is one thing, but being named as Tony Blair's favourite band and performing private concerts for supermodel Elle Macpherson and her celebrity friends, including Liz Hurley and Hugh Grant, is another.

With no guitars, no drum kits and just a microphone to plug in, The Magnets travel light - their only cargo a collection of voices which produce top-notch a cappella singing. But, before you conjure up visions of stripey-blazered, boater-topped barber's shop quartet singers, think again. These guys are slick-suited, razor-sharp dudes.

From the moment they coolly swagger onto the stage, you'll be gripped by the sextet's amazing array of vocals and sounds that create the illusion of listening to a full, live band.

One member of the band produces a truly impressive solo display of tonsil acrobatics as a human drum machine, another provides subsonic bass vibrations, while the rest fill any gaps with free-flowing harmonies.

The banter between them is also refreshing - including a mickey-taking look back at their foray into the land of boyband.

Invited by the Friends of Exeter Festival, it's a return trip for Andy, Colin, James, Michael, Nic and Steve who provided an impressive warm-up for Tom Jones when he appeared at Powderham Castle last July.

As well as working alongside the legendary Welshman, the lads have performed with Lionel Ritchie, Blue, Craig David, Lisa Stansfield and Geri Halliwell.

And following a successful second album - entitled Another Place - The Magnets are due to unleash their self-titled third long-player in May - Western Morning News

"East Anglian Daily Times"

Fresh, Funky and Amazing Voices
26/11/02 - Ipswich Corn Exchange

The Magnets – a six piece a cappella group – have an amazing age range of dedicated fans that turn out whenever they play in the region; there are children, grannies and teenage girls aplenty – on this occasion there were some who had travelled from Newcastle!

The band play self penned material from their debut album, Giving It All That, and also take the opportunity to road test some new songs they are recording.

These songs stand up well amongst the covers of classic songs like Hall and Oates’ ‘I Can’t Go For That’, The Coasters’ ‘Searching’, and Carol King’s ‘I Feel The Earth Move’.

By the nature of their presentation, they sound fresh and exciting. What is amazing is how funky the backing is to these tracks. This is thanks to the “rhythm section” of Colin and Andy, replicating the sounds of bass and drums (I swear some people in the audience were looking for hidden instruments).

A storming version of the Elvis/Nike track A Little Less Conversation should have had the crowd dancing, but this is Suffolk, although a rousing version of Signed Sealed Delivered had them clapping along.

The band intersperse their immaculate singing with humorous anecdotes of their time together on the road.

Vocal percussionist Andy received a standing ovation for a drum solo, managing to sound like a full drum kit. They even include a self-deprecating “boy band section” but you just know there isn’t a boy band around that could sing the harmonies these guys manage on All The Wrong Reasons.

For their second encore, Colin warns the audience in a heavy Jamaican accent to “stay put in your seats” as he couldn’t guarantee their safety during Zombie Jamoree as the band dance with amazing energy like wild jungle creatures.

Finally, for the third and final encore, the crossed did find their feet for a storming Blame It On The Boogie. A truly wonderful show.
- East Anglian Daily Times

" - 5/5 Stars"

The Magnets - Pod Deco, Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2004

Magnet, a body that attracts by virtue of a force produced by the motion of its atomic electrons and the alignment of its atoms.
The Magnets, six bodies that exude irresistible attraction by virtue of the melodies produced by its joint voice’s and moving alignments of their bodies.
‘Band on the Break’ is the story of the bands development from busking on the streets, through ‘Boy Band’ school, via Geri Halliwell, Tony Blair, Tom Jones and the Royal Albert Hall. The mixed and varied type of music produced by the human voice alone amazes most of the audience. The way the show is put together with little video links to allow them a breath between numbers adds a little extra humour.
The Magnets are Nic Doodson, James Fortune, Andy Frost, Colin Griffiths Brown, Steve Trowell and Michael Welton. With looks to appeal to almost every possible audience member they seem to have the full package.
It is really unfair to pick any one member out for mention but Andy ‘Lips’ Frost’s drum solo, must be seen to be believed, he is truly amazing.
I have seen several special shows and this one is truly fantastic.

"Time Out London"

The Magnets - Jazz Cafe

The Magnets could be about to shatter preconceptions of a cappella music by giving the tradition of unaccopanied harmony singing a much needed revamp. Mixing smooth production values, commercial hooks and good looks with sophisticated arrangements and accomplished vocals they are, if you like, a Boyzone for the more discerning.

Starting out as regular licensed buskers in Covent Garden, frequent TV appearances, shows at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, and many London venues have seen their live set honed to a slick, entertaining and record deal-worthy mix of original songs and new workings of past hits. Particular highlights at a pre-Christmas showcase at the Jazz Cafe include two gorgeous self-penned ballads and inventive readings of The Zombies 'She's Not There' and The Jacksons 'Blame It On The Boogie'.Wtih human drum machine Andy and resonant bass sing Colin underpinning the Beach Boys-esque warmeth with and infectious groove, The Magnets might just make a cappella singing hip. - Rosie Wilby

"Ipswich Evening Star"

Magnets Were On Their Mettle

Corn Exchange, Ipswich, 26/10/2002

Sleek, Stylish and singing their hearts out – The Magnets were back in Ipswich and how. This six-piece a cappella sensation returned last night on the back of several sell-out gigs, with their talent and popularity as evident as ever.

Rattling through their hits to a packed Corn Exchange, the group made light work of their spellbinders and deserved all the applause they received. Perhaps the most deserving of praise was our own Steve Trowell. A true talent and showman, former Ipswich boy Steve performed faultlessly throughout the group’s two-hour set and pulled out more musical variety and energetic dance movement than the crowd had expected.

The suited lads certainly made up for what the Corn Exchange lacked as a venue for this instrument-free six-piece. Clearly their crowd-pleasing efforts would so easily have lent themselves to a more intimate seated setting or somewhere with much needed dance-floor potential.

Neither was applicable at last night’s venue but it can only be hoped that Magnets’ fans will one day get a chance to dance to the boys’ live sounds. They so obviously wanted to!

With hits ranging from the soulful She’s Not There to the upbeat Blame It On The Boogie, the Magnets’ musical agenda fitted the bill. And the night, without any shadow of a doubt, belonged to Steve Trowell.
- Ipswich Evening Star

"The Scotsman (2005) - 5/5 Stars"

The Magnets- Magnetude



A BOY band to outwit all other boy bands, The Magnets are dazzling. Following the path of The Flying Pickets and Cuba's Vocal Sampling, this six-man a capella group doesn't just stick to inventive harmony singing.

Defining themselves wittily as a V'n'B (vocals and beats) group, two of them are vocal percussionists layering in backing instruments. Colin provides the very cool bass, while Andy uses lips and throat to create the sound of beatbox, scratching and ultimately a full drumkit with high hat and cymbals.

The joy of this show is the way the singing is inserted into a tongue-in-cheek pastiche documentary with cinematic overtones. In pre-recorded epic voice-overs, actors Jacqueline Pearce and Ian McKellen describe The Magnets' sharp-suited existence from the time of Biblical oracles.

We learn how, as "chosen ones", they abandoned aspiring careers to become Magnets - one gave up being a Tom Cruise look-alike pilot (cue Take My Breath Away); another eschewed double-glazing sales to become a vocal percussionist.

Not that any song given the Magnet treatment is sung straight. More re-creations than covers, each piece is as brilliantly choreographed vocally as it is physically. The storyline allows them to dip freely into eclectic grooves, from classics like Rocking the Boat (from Guys and Dolls) to Michael Jackson's Billy Jean.

Their sense of timing is breathtaking, their musical arrangements subversive. The sound engineer who facilitates the split-second vocal effects deserves an award. Both Toby Davies' script and Laurie Samson's production include an abundance of ironic and witty pop culture references.

A breathtaking, sexy and postmodern show.
- The Scotsman

"Three Weeks - 5/5 Stars"

The Magnets
Who needs drums when you’ve got a sexy beat-box who can dance like Michael Jackson? Singing great songs that everybody loves, like Billie-Jean, Nobody Does it Better and This Love, totally A-Cappella, the Magnets are magnetic. Their voices are phenomenal, their suits sharp, they are gorgeous and the tongue in cheek story they put around it is hilarious, including an amazing beat-box solo, a Top Gun sequence and a fabulously OTT voiceover. I have totally fallen for them all, and I had to buy their CD, which I am now loving.

Assembly @ St George's West, 5-29 Aug (not 15), 9:00pm (10:00pm), prices vary, fpp 162

tw rating: 5/5


- Three Weeks

" 5/5 Stars"

The Magnets - Magnetude. (Page 162).

Drams None.
Venue Assembly at St George (Venue 157).
Address 58 Shandwick Place.
Reviewer Lyndsey Turner.

Look for The Magnets in the music section of the Fringe programme and you'll find that the cupboard is bare. This year, the talented six piece have migrated into the heady world of Theatre. And not without justification: Magnetude is a decidedly theatrical journey into the mythical origins of the acapella group, a narrative piece which attempts to add something more performative to the idea of a 'gig'. With narration provided by the disembodied voice of Ian McKellen, the audience are treated to a witty and parodic take on the formation of a band.

But the audience aren't here for a postmodern take on the concept of a supergroup, they're here for the music. And nobody left disappointed - running through a diverse and eclectic set list, the suited and booted Magnets provided something for everyone. A delicate version of Sting's Fragile was set against a rich and bassy Nobody Does It Better. Reworkings of songs such as Sit Down You're Rocking the Boat (from the musical Guys and Dolls) reveal the group at their most musical and creative.

The Magnets use no musical instruments or backing tracks. Instead their style (self-titled V'n'B as in vocals and beats) relies entirely on the miraculous adaptability of the human voice. The results are stunning: the audience were in raptures at the solo beatbox performance, and there was universal foot tapping and hand clapping all the way through the rockier numbers. Many of the other vocal groups at this year's Fringe would do well to get themselves down to Magnetude for this masterclass in understated showmanship. A real winner.
©Lyndsey Turner 17 August 2005 - Published on
Runs to 29 August at 21.00.
Company - The Magnets.
Company Website -



Giving It All That (EMI Liberty, 2001)
Another Place (Independent Release, 2004)


How Deep? (EMI Liberty, 2001)
All The Wrong Reasons (EMI Liberty, 2001)
Tinsel Town (Independent Release, 2003)


Feeling a bit camera shy


The Magnets are a V'n'B group (vocals & beats), making a cappella music as you’ve never heard it before, sophisticated, sexy, and loud. Attracting an incredibly wide-ranging audience, this ‘band with no instruments’ have entertained millions across Europe and Asia in concert and on TV and radio.

The Magnets music is founded on the sounds they can make from their mouths alone. Genius vocal percussionist Andy provides the groove. From bass drum to high hat, he produces entire drum tracks with his mouth. Colin adds the bass, while James, Michael, Nic and Steve provide the layers of harmony and lead vocals on top.

Born in London out of an amalgamation of friendships, college shows and luck, the band released their debut album ‘Giving It All That' on EMI in 2001, an independent second album ‘Another Place’ followed in 2004. Both albums were recognised at the a cappella 'Grammies', the CARAs (Contemporary A Cappella Recording Awards), winning the awards for best song in 2001 and 2003, alongside several other nominations.

In 2005, The Magnets premiered their first theatrical show Magnetude. After a successful run at the Edinburgh Fringe, winning the Forth FM Spirit of the Fringe Award, they signed a deal with major touring production company BackRow to develop a new theatre show, Vox Pop, which successfully premiered in Hamburg and Berlin in March and April 2006

In their element live, a Magnets concert presents a unique combination of musical sophistication, showmanship and soul. Performing for up to two hours, the show is a synthesis of the band’s award winning original material, and their a cappella take on classic songs by artists such as Elvis, The Turtles, and the Jackson 5. However, The Magnets are not too cool to party, and the songs are spiced with humour, dancing, audience participation, and of course Andy ‘Lips’ Frost’s house destroying vocal drum solo.

Performing 160 shows a year in 2003 and 2004, the group have enjoyed support tours with Tom Jones, West End star Michael Ball, Lisa Stansfield and Geri Halliwell. They receive frequent invitations to play prestigious events in the UK and Europe, including the Queen's Jubilee Concert at Buckingham Palace and the BBC Proms in Hyde Park.

Other career highlights include a sell-out run at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2004, and official functions for Prime Minister Tony Blair, and German Chancellor Gerhardt Schroeder. The group have also become a favourite party band for the rich and famous, such as super model Elle Macpherson, Liz Hurley, Billionaire Phillip Green, media mogul Richard Desmond, and Hugh Grant.

The Magnets make regular TV and radio appearances in the UK, including peak time shows such as Parkinson, GMTV, Blue Peter, the Generation Game, Songs of Praise, MTV, Star For A Night, The Kelly Show, and Open House, as well as Loose Ends on Radio 4, and sessions on Radio 2. The band also play several charity and schools concerts every year, supporting causes such as the Teenage Cancer Trust and Children In Need, and promoting live music in education.

In Europe, and particularly Germany, The Magnets are well known as accomplished headliners at arts festivals and theatres, and have made several national TV appearances. In recent months the group have also broadened their horizons to Moscow, Israel, and Singapore.