Magic Man & The Griswolds Tear Up Orlando

On Wednesday night at Orlando’s cozy Social, myself and the rest of the fans crammed into the packed club on Orange Ave were treated to a night of unabashed pop rock fun. As one of the few post-college-aged geezers in the room, I felt a little bit like Thornton Melon at a Grand Lakes University frat party, but I loved every minute of the fun and chaos.

Chris Whitehall of The Griswolds with guest bassist Sam Lee of Magic Man.
Chris Whitehall of The Griswolds with guest bassist Sam Lee of Magic Man.

The tour, featuring Boston’s Magic Man and The Griswolds from Australia, was billed as a co-headline event, and both bands shined on a night filled with a slew of memorable moments. Each band delivered long entertaining sets, spotlighted by their huge respective hits “Paris” and “Beware The Dog” but there were countless other highlight moments throughout the festive evening.

Local Orlando rockers Boxing At The Zoo, got the night off to a fun start with a tight set of likeable island-infused indie pop as The Social was near capacity an hour before either headliner hit the stage.

The excitement started immediately as The Griswolds greeted the crowd when Sam Lee, guitarist for Magic Man, took the stage in black cutoffs with a bass slung over his shoulder.  I have no idea what happened to the Aussies’ bass player, but based on the raucous ending to both bands’ sets, I can only imagine he was mutilated by bandmates pummeling him on stage at Hangout Fest.

The lads from down under got their set off to a bouncing start with crowd favorites “Down And Out” and “16 Years” before leaping into an incendiary singalong version of “If You Wanna Stay.” Lee bounced around the stage and interacted with the members of The Griswolds throughout the set, as if they were longtime partners as the four sudden bandmates played off of each other masterfully. The foursome from Sydney just ooze relentless good time rock and roll.

(Full setlists from both bands are provided below the article)

The Griswolds' Chris Whitehall at Social Orlando.
The Griswolds’ Chris Whitehall at Social Orlando.

Front man Chris Whitehall is a dynamic performer with a distinctive voice and limitless energy. With his red haired mop bouncing madly, the singer was all over the stage, both with and without his trusty guitar. The setlist was designed nicely, bouncing between new offerings, old selections (2013 is old, right?) and revolving around the powerful selections off of 2014’s Be Impressive.

“Role Models” was one of the new tracks that went over great with the crowd.  It’s a nice showcase for Whitehall’s diverse voice and provided one of the best singalong moments of the night.  They closed their set with the crowd favorite “Beware The Dog” and the ultimate party song “Heart Of A Lion” which had the crowd dancing wildly along with the band, which saw the song end with Lee tackling Keyboard/Guitarist Danny Duke in the center of the stage.  Fun stuff…

After a brief changeover, the two-piece turned quintet that is Magic Man took the stage to the synth driven rocker “Apollo,” which immediately had the crowd singing in unison.

The dynamic Alex Capwell of Magic Man.
The dynamic Alex Capwell of Magic Man.

Vocalist Alex Caplow was energetic and engaged with the crowd immediately.  He’s a talented entertaining just dripping with charisma, and he had the crowd in the palm of his hand all night, as he danced across the stage, connecting with fans throughout the venue all night.

Sam Lee was back for his second shift of the night, this time on guitar and seemed to also be having a blast playing with the rest of his bandmates.

There were a few fun moments during “Sleepwalking” when Caplow sang with a bouquet of flowers in his hands as bubbles and smoke machine covered the stage.  By the way, a shout out to the tall blond fan who provided the flowers, as he sang along front and center to every song from both bands.

Other highlights included my personal favorite “Texas,” “It All Starts Here” and the fantastic “Tonight,” which provided a nice canvas for Caplow’s wonderful voice.  The brand new “Young Blood,” was well-received and has the promise to be a perfect crowd singalong anthem. They also threw in a fun cover of Springsteen’s “Dancing In The Dark.”

They left the stage briefly before returning for their encore, and I need to share how outdated it is to leave the stage for an encore in a small club setting like that.  We all knew they were going to come out and play “Paris,” right?

They brought the crowd to a fever pitch with a smoking version of their huge 2014 hit, “Paris” and then actually kicked it up a notch with their closer, R. Kelly’s “Ignition.”

Members of The Griswolds join Magic Man for a raucous close.
Members of The Griswolds join Magic Man for a raucous close.

As the fans bounced along enthusiastically, the tiny Social stage became a swarming party scene as The Griswolds and a few members from the opening band joined the mayhem on stage, trading places behind the instruments, and swapping off lead vocal duties.  It was a raucous close to a festive night of pop rock, which came to end with a pile of flesh on top of the drum kit, and a room full of smiles from the thoroughly entertained crowd.

The Florida swing saw this tour come to an end, but both bands need to be on your concert radar in the future, as they both deliver entertaining engaging sets.

We will have a bunch of photos posted on our Facebook page over the next day, so make sure you stop by and Like the Page.

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Rock On!




The Griswolds
Down and Out
16 Years
If You Wanna Stay
Get Into My Heart
The Courtship of Summer Preasley
Right On Track
Be Impressive
Role Models
Live This Nightmare
Beware the Dog
Heart of a Lion

Magic Man
Every Day
Dancing in the Dark
Young Blood
It All Starts Here
Ignition (Remix)


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