Majical Cloudz La Sala Rossa, Montreal QC, March 10
Published Mar 11, 2016Since the release of their debut LP Impersonator back in 2013, Majical Cloudz have built a reputation for being one of the most honest, catharsis-inducing acts in recent memory; their pared-down sounds and honest, direct live performances were created with the goal of eliciting memories and emotion, and establishing an intimate connection.
However, after just two full-length albums and two EPs, singer-songwriter Devon Welsh and producer Matthew Otto announced last week (March 4) that they would be calling it quits to pursue their own, individual endeavours — their next hometown show would be their final performance as a duo. Selling out almost immediately after the announcement, their extended, farewell set last night (March 10) at the Sala Rossa was primed to be the band's best.
After a smooth, focused introductory set by DJ sofcoresoft, the duo took to the stage amid screams from the expectant crowd, Welsh wearing his trademark white t-shirt and jeans, Otto without shoes, an orb pendant hanging from his neck. Taking a moment to address the crowd directly, Welsh announced that they wanted their last show to be a celebration, adding that "If you don't know who we are, and just kind of stumbled in, we're called Majical Cloudz and this is our last show."
Beginning their set with "Control" off their sophomore LP Are You Alone?, the opening lines "Will you let me change / I want to but I think you want me the same" seemed to adopt a double-meaning to the crowd of heartbroken fans, all silently hoping that the band might suddenly announce a decision to continue on. Staring out into the crowd in his trademark, almost unblinking way, Welsh held the microphone cord to his side as he moved about the stage, his fingers twiddling the wire like rosary beads, Otto's ambient, minimalist beats carrying the weight of the simple, straightforward lyrics.
Moving through half the tracks off Are You Alone? at a steady pace, Welsh and Otto decided to change gears, moving into older material with songs like "I Do Sing For You" and "Savage," the audience mouthing the words throughout. Addressing the vibrating, wonky monitor stage left, Welsh encouraged everyone to move to the other side of the stage for "better frequencies," but while the Sala Rossa's sound quality showed some room for improvement, the theatrical red curtains, hanging chandeliers and dimmed venue lights proved to be the perfect milieu for the band's dramatic goodbye.
Starting their encore (without leaving the stage), the duo launched into "Childhood's End," Welsh using his microphone as a hammer to punctuate Otto's steady, ominous beats. As they moved into their latest single "Silver Car Crash," Welsh decided to let his velvety, crooning voice go haywire, if just for a moment. Right after the line, "and we will both die laughing / while I am holding onto you," Welsh let out a bone-chilling scream as Otto made the music bubble and burst underneath. Stopping the song and then restarting it after speaking to each for the first time since the show began, the new chorus became a collective scream, the crowd yelling along with Welsh to the erratic beat, everyone smiling at the end.
After finishing their set with a beautiful rendition of "Bugs Don't Buzz," Majical Cloudz left the stage quietly, thanking the crowd, and letting the weight of the song linger in the room for a moment longer.