Majcal Cloudz. Photo: Julien Barrat

Majcal Cloudz. Photo: Julien Barrat

So it’s MAJICAL CLOUDZ on Friday night. Disturbingly beautiful and vulnerable. You may get the wrong impression, seeing Devon Welsh and Matthew Otto perform on stage. The cathedral-like space they create within a tiny venue. Welsh, like a priest, preparing his blessing, over a crowd on the edge of drowning in sin. Laying down a liturgy, written by the lifespan of experience. From a child’s early naive wisdom to LSD hazed hedonism of an existentially lost and isolated loner: trying to convey god’s purity and wisdom on us … it’s not like that. You’re wrong. He’s not preaching.

Instead, Devon Welsh clutches his microphone as if there was nothing else to hold on to. While singing, he stands alone, surrounded by audience. His eyes, dark brown, are staring into void recalling memory and emotion. Forceful in deliverance and directness, lines like: “Love come down/ I’m feeling down/ Love go down I’m feeling down/ down” tangle over minimalistic landscape of sound. From his battery of electronic gadgets, Matthew Otto softly brushes little figures of string, piano, synth, glitches, rhythm and reverb under Welsh’s voice. Songs like This Is Magic or haunting Silver Rings at no point follow epic or climatic structure. MAJICAL CLOUDZ move without motion. Like a cluster; details are fading in and out. Everyone is stunned here, calm and not to take their eyes off the stage.

Between songs Welsh acts modest, almost shy, calm and sensitive. In an interview he explained his reasons for only wearing white t-shirts and black pants: it was the most invisible uniform he could choose. We should laugh at him, he says.  It implies a desire for relief, like shaking off the weight of the crowds eyes.  “This song is to be taken seriously,” he makes the audience aware of before starting into I Do Sing for You. Live, the band sounds close to the album Impersonator, but gets a lift up by Welsh’s auratic presence. It’s how you would imagine what it would be like if Arthur Russell were still alive and performing.

Welsh evokes Freudian and existentialists metaphors and contrasts, and blends them with calm comfort bordering on resignation. He longs for warm security, or drowns in lonesome despair, with song titles like I Feel Like a Kid, I Hear a Murderer Walk, Your Father He is Dead, I See Him in My head, I Don’t Think About Dying Alone, or Love Death. By Welsh sharing lonely introspection with the audience falls for the cathartic experience. You can see them: girls and boys, giving way to compassion and affection. It’s intangibly beautiful and sad. You can find our recent interview with the band right here.