IT felt like a genuine encore. Not one of those run-of-the-mill encores where the band come back on stage regardless, to play a few more tracks, usually ending with a biggie. But an encore where the audience was so taken by the set they actually demanded more and the band obliged.

As it happens, the one extra track The Magic Band played at The Duchess last night, namely Floppy Boot Stomp, was always on the set list. But still. The reception said it all.

For anyone unfamiliar with The Magic Band, they’re a kind of Picasso of the music world: take a look at a few pictures and you may wonder what the devil it’s all about, but delve into it all a bit more and you’ll see the genius behind it.

It’s a mixture of avant-garde jazz and delta blues - often complex, sometimes bizarre - all perceived decades ago by the late Captain Beefheart, of whom The Magic Band, a rotating ensemble of musicians, were the backing group.

One key difference is that Picasso, nowadays, is commercially indubitable whereas The Magic Band, to put it bluntly, are not.

Still, that’s something that probably helps to make them so compelling and with such a fervent following, such as the overwhelming majority in The Duchess crowd last night, who positively revelled in it all, much like they had when the same line-up played this venue 12 months ago.

The third track of the night, Diddy Wah Diddy, which sits towards the blues end of the nonconformist blues-jazz scale, was the most mercantile of the offerings in last night’s programme (which, perhaps fortunately, featured little of Beefheart’s more, ahem, “experimental” stuff).

But it was arguably surpassed by When It Blows Its Stacks, a track which, when heard live like this, was just too absurdly good to be bracketed in any review.

Fronting the band these days is John ‘Drumbo’ French, the original drummer, who also plays clarinet and mouth organ in between spoken-word vocals which, rather than ape Captain Beefheart, offer a warped intensity of their own.

He also began set two – the show was split into two halves - with a drum solo that was just one highlight among many immense instrumentals by a “far out” band who, in this show, rein things in just at the right time and somehow manage to plateau a musical peak.