Majical Cloudz La Sala Rossa, Montreal QC, September 27

Majical Cloudz La Sala Rossa, Montreal QC, September 27
Photo: Steve Louie
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Is there a more sincerely grateful performer than Majical Cloudz' Devon Welsh? He started his hometown show by thanking individual concertgoers in the front row, acknowledging that "some of you heard these songs the first time we ever played them, so it's good to do them again for you." During the more demanding vocal turns of opener "Impersonator," he often arched a single eyebrow in exertion as he sang, staring intently into the crowd and moving his arm very deliberately downwards on every beat. Welsh entered a bit of a trance-like state until each song's end, but when the songs ended the spell was broken, and he began thanking people again while acknowledging that playing shows still makes him nervous. He had little to worry about, though; Montreal adores him.

Welsh is nothing if not charming. When Matthew Otto ran into sound trouble and discreetly told him to keep up banter, Welsh turned to the audience immediately to spill the beans; he wanted to lie, he said, but "couldn't think fast enough." At a point later on, he broke a long silence by simply inquiring of the crowd, "Are you okay?"

Live, songs like "This is Magic" and "Childhood's End" became soft dance tracks, their thudding bass pronounced more than ever live, but even the duo's slower, more ambient songs are made emphatic by Welsh's impassioned delivery and intense performing persona, his straightforward lyrics about love of music and people — especially on "I Do Sing For You," with lines like "Of course I do, and I love to" and "Here with you," during which he pointed to the floor emphatically on each syllable — complementing his intense gaze into the audience.

Welsh asked the crowd to fulfill his dream of them jumping up and down to "Mister," and they unquestioningly obliged, cheering as they pogoed in unison, kicking up a cloud of body odor. He gave them a choice of an encore break or just staying stage until the show's end— they pick the latter — and he ended with a powerful a cappella rendition of "What That Was" and a drawn out, heartfelt goodbye that might have lasted forever had Otto's piano chords for closer "Bugs Don't Buzz" not brought it to the perfect close.

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