Montreal’s Majical Cloudz’s 2016 EP release Wait and See is the Frankensteinian production of Devon Welsh and Mathew Otto. Together they felt these tracks had no place in their previous, critically acclaimed album We Are Alone and so opted to put them together in a new EP for our listening pleasure. So now, they take these releases on tour with a touch of the surreal and an adoring crowd at the intimate The Toff In Town.
The red curtains parted from the low stage, barely separating punter and performer, to reveal a man sporting a matching red button up and black jeans tightly clenching his microphone stand. His counter-part Mathew Otto, stood behind in black, working from a plastic tool case resting on a small stand. Between the two, a single disco ball slowly revolved. One could imagine Lynch feeling at ease here. Minimal yet entrancing.
Devon Welsh stared into the crowd with an uncertain intensity. As the crowd let loose with a clamor of cheer he simply stood there, rooted to the spot staring and nodding. Occasionally he would greet the crowd before stopping and then continuing with his peculiar nodding until the crowed broke to laughter and ended their applause. Welsh had certainly established the character for his show, perhaps a slight exaggeration of his off stage persona, but either way, we all now knew what we were in for as tonight’s performance unraveled.
Packing the venue out, the crowd mostly consisted of the usual twenty somethings. Well dressed in their semi casual (whatever that may actually mean) outfits. No fashionably obvious subcultures out tonight!! Images aside, Majical Cloudz performance held everyone’s undivided attention, it was enchanting as it was mesmerising with their layered, complex, self-contradictory stream of consciousness. The room swayed in improvised tandem.
Between tracks Welsh would awkwardly incite banter with his ‘deer stuck in headlights’ character. Even going so far as to admit that he ‘doesn’t know how to respond to things sometimes, even if they are good’ after one disembodied voice declared their love. Yet Welsh’s timing was so perfect he never failed to elicit a laughter from the crowd.
Majical Cloudz’s powerful ballads of human interactions, self-worth, hope and fantasy were not just performed with skill but elevated in the flesh. Witnessing Welsh’s character, so socially awkward, bare it all in heart breaking earnest to the backdrop of their all-enveloping electronic indie-pop, a title that deals them little justice, was an honest and rarely offered opportunity.
Their live performances highlights the complexity of thought at the foundation of their music. Their music is an ongoing journey of self-discovery and self-actualisation with no destiny in mind. Talented, professional and honest, a potent mix that yields a level of substance that is sorely needed in our manufactured pop culture.