Published Sep 18, 2013The Toronto stop of Montreal's Majical Cloudz (aka singer-songwriter Devon Welsh and comrade, Matthew Otto) was the last of their current tour and, as Welsh was quick to note, an opportunity for much-needed catharsis and celebration. (It seemed, at least from the band's Twitter feed, that not everything went as planned the night before in Buffalo.)
Of the evening, he explained, "It's important," yet added, "It doesn't have to be important to you. It can just be a show."
Despite naming their most recent record Impersonator, the tandem specializes in frankness and transparency, at least vocally. Leading off with the album's title track, Welsh stared into the crowd, slowly ratcheting up the intensity of his vocals, which would have been mesmeric even without the seesawing sonic backdrop. "This is Magic" kept his voice front and centre. Exploring a darker side of childhood — one populated with nighttime monsters — it relied on a steady beat, spare keys, and a far-off wind tunnel. "Notebook" used church keys and a healthy dash of fatalist introspection to keep the audience rapt while "I Do Sing For You" was similarly restrained and resonant.
Welsh has a big voice and a penchant for emotion-laden lyrics, though his dry and droll banter kept the mood light between songs. The rest of the time, the crowd stood mostly silent and largely transfixed. The secret weapon was Otto, who did a solid job of fending off emo trappings with a diverse batch of canned sounds and sparse synths.
For instance, "Mister," awash in big beats, was almost danceable. Ditto "Childhood's End," which was groovier than its studio counterpart and added some much-needed levity — as Bart learned too late, no one wants all-syrup squishy.
At turns stirring and lighthearted, it was a triumphant finale to an evidently draining tour.