Majical Cloudz at 7th Street Entry, 8/13/13
Photo by Erik Hess
with Moon King
7th Street Entry, Minneapolis
August 13, 2013
For a fairly long length of time before the start of Majical Cloudz's set at the Entry on Tuesday night, a lone keyboard that Matthew Otto had plugged in then walked away from, sat silent as feedback slowly gathered steam over the P.A. It was reminiscent of the descriptions of Death Grips' non-show at Chicago's Bottom Lounge earlier this month during Lollapalooza, though Tuesday's crowd seemed not to mind and weren't growing very agitated or restless in the least, as they simply nursed their beers and chatted about this past weekend's activities.
After a roughly half-hour wait, Otto returned with lead singer Devon Welsh in tow and the band got the night under way with the title track to their new Impersonator album and "This is Magic," the spare, stripped down dream pop leanings apparent early and extending into the appearance of the band itself: Otto simply dressed in a hoodie and dark denim, utilizing only a keyboard and sampler; Welsh clad in a white T-shirt which was neatly tucked into his jeans, holding the microphone in his hands the entire night, not even making use of a mic stand.
Majical Cloudz spent the majority of Tuesday occupying the space between Washed Out and Shearwater, however they weren't nearly as hopeful as the former or as nature-oriented and obtuse as the latter. The songs often ended on a down note or ambiguously -- the happy endings were few and hard fought. "Childhood's End" reflected on the pain of growing up, discovering the hurt the world has to offer. Much of the lyrical content in the song -- nor in most of the set's songs, truth be told -- wasn't exactly revolutionary, they still felt exceptionally revelatory, laying Welsh's psyche and soul bare for the Entry's crowd, which slowly became fairly entranced by the proceedings on stage.
Photos by Erik Hess
"Notebook" and "Mister," -- which Welsh declared the "pogo song at the sing-along show" for the night, after observing that most of the crowd was singing along to most of the songs, an action that seemed to both delight and frighten him -- found the band finally hitting their high gear, Welsh pogoing along with a good portion of the crowd, Otto finally coming alive a bit and dancing, as well.
"I Do Sing For You" and the vaguely upsetting "Turns Turns Turns" started the downslope of the band's decidedly short 50-minute set, though the duo wasn't done quite yet as they offered a fantastic, glittering version of "Silver Rings" and a relatively amped up version of "Bugs Don't Buzz," complete with foot stomping from Welsh that was so forceful it could be heard throughout the room over the music.
"You guys seem so nice," Welsh said afterward, "I feel bad that was the last song. I guess we can do one more, I think, probably." He and Otto had a short discussion and then Welsh announced he was going to perform "What That Was" a cappella, dedicating it to "a friend who is here tonight" and a man near the front of the stage who, earlier, had inexplicably handed Welsh a trading card featuring former Minnesota Timberwolves player Gerald Glass.
Photo by Erik Hess
He waded through a couple of false starts but ultimately performed the song beautifully, the Entry so quiet you could every foot shuffle and cough. He finished to a torrent of cheers and clapping, as both Welsh and Otto nervously waved and thanked the crowd. It had indeed been too short a set, but it was somehow nearly perfect anyway. Majical Cloudz's leftfield, incredibly personal introspective dream pop is powerful, even in it's spare simplicity and though it's often sad, it's a reflection of how life often works: you don't always win, but the way in which you lose is often more important in the end.
Critic's Bias: I have in the last few years been more and more attracted to the synth-driven, dream pop-esque bands like Majical Cloudz for whatever reason. Finding a band in this genre that offers a great live show, however, has proven to be fairly difficult. I was glad to find another good one.
The Crowd: Young and full of PBR.
Overheard In the Crowd: "Is there another bathroom?" from a few people, all of whom were directed to the adjacent Depot's facilities. It seemed to be the first trip to the Entry for many on Tuesday.
Notebook Dump: This is dark but not as philosophical as it would seem at first glance. Still, it's pretty great.
This Is Magic
I Do Sing For You
Turns Turns Turns
Bugs Don't Buzz
What That Was
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