It was a weird little gig to kick off 2016. There he was, awkwardness personified, staring out at the early evening crowd as if it was his first time on stage. It was not Devon Welsh’s first time on stage, nor the debut of Majical Cloudz. But the intensity remained; because Devon will stare you down and simultaneously look through you. Stand up there, kinda antsy. Make jokes about how the day’s been difficult – we’re not sure why – but in a roundabout way ask us to trust him because he’s sure we’ll have a good time. He didn’t sound like he believed it.
But we laughed. Because there was charm there. He talked about the opening bands he’d picked from his hometown. He thanked us for spending our night with them. He gripped his mic tighter, looked over us a little harder and launched into the first of Majical Cloudz’ many bummer songs, a new one from Are You Alone?, “Disappeared.”
“Those that forever disappear
All I want is for you to talk to me
The way you used to do.”
A common refrain in songs. About pulling away and blocking out people you love. It was raw up there, with Devon, backed by co-pilot Matthew Otto picking out simple, minor chords on his keyboard. But that’s where the Majical happens. Authenticity and nerves, wounds and a heart thumping on the sleeve. The music sparse, the voice rich. “Are You Alone?”, “Silver Car Crash”, “If You’re Lonely”, all whole and personal. The back room at the club hushed through most of it. Proof of an oddly compelling few moments in time.
There was also a new track. “Love will come when you learn to trust. you are a seed in a pile of dust…my heart soaks up every drop of your blood,” sang Devon. Moody and slow, it sounded like every other Majical song. It was rather quite lovely.
And finally, somewhere around “I Do Sing For You,” Devon decided it was time to wrap the whole short show up, announcing that there was only three more songs but again, he was sure they’d be great. Otto stepped away from his keyboard to correct Welsh. There were, in fact, five. Welsh went blank, rewired himself, then headed into “Bugs Don’t Buzz”, “Downtown” and finally ending on ”Silver Rings.”
Then it was done. An hour after it started and no less awkwardly. We’ve seen Majical Cloudz better before. But on this January night, Devon Welsh still managed to draw us in. \m/
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