Majical Cloudz The PHI Centre, Montreal QC, October 23

Majical Cloudz The PHI Centre, Montreal QC, October 23
Photo: Luke Orlando
Very few bands can silence a room quite like Majical Cloudz. Since the release of their debut album Impersonator back in 2013, the Montreal duo have developed the reputation of having one of the most cathartic pop shows in recent memory. Armed with a microphone and his robust, powerhouse vocals, singer Devon Welsh transfixed the crowd yesterday evening (October 23) with little more than a stare and his intimate, direct lyrics. Paired with producer Matthew's Otto's minimal electronic loops, the artists managed to blanket the room in sound as the audience stared back into Welsh's eyes reverently, hanging off his every word.
Touring in promotion of their sophomore record Are You Alone?, Majical Cloudz played to the sold-out PHI Centre crowd with flowers — both real and fake — strewn about the stage, adding a romantic element to the otherwise stark, unadorned space. Opening with "Disappeared" off their new album, Welsh walked back and forth across the stage, his free hand holding onto the microphone chord like a lifeline as he sang the lines "My heart moves in a new place / I'm out of practice falling into love" to the crowd of adoring silhouettes, using the microphone at times like a hammer to punctuate Otto's beats.
While most Majical Cloudz performances are haunting, and seemingly layered with a feeling of profound sadness, it was clear from the get-go that Majical Cloudz had not only taken the album in a new, more positive direction, but that their live performance in itself had morphed into something new. While all the key elements remain the same, Welsh's trademark charismatic awkwardness in now underlined by a palpable sense of happiness. Mid-set, he even took handfuls of roses and threw them out into the crowd while singing "I'm so hopelessly for you."
While working their way through their new album with songs like "Are You Alone," "Control" and "Game Show," the band threw in a few fan favourites like "Childhood's End" and "This is Magic" for good measure, the entire crowd mouthing the words along with them. Transitioning from song to song with the help of Welsh's charming stage banter, the evening seemed short and sweet, punctuated by their trademark vulnerability and understated confidence.
Closing with their latest single "Downtown," Majical Cloudz ended strongly. Playing the show as if to a room full of close friends, the band managed to hold the crowd's attention from beginning to end, solidifying their status as one of the most powerful live acts today.