Majical Cloudz uplifts Schubas


Courtesy Trevor de Brauw

Electronic pop duo Majical Cloudz performed an intimate upbeat show at Schubas Tavern on Jan. 18. 

By Managing Editor

Known for enigmatic and emotionally intense live shows, electronic/indie pop duo Majical Cloudz lightened up its act Jan. 18 at Schubas Tavern, 3159 N. Southport Ave., with a cheery performance off its latest album, Are You Alone?

Singer Devon Welsh, dressed in a red button-down shirt tucked into a pair of dark jeans, firmly gripped his microphone as he swayed from side to side, leading the audience in a sing-along of “If You’re Lonely,” a mid-tempo ballad about overcoming post-heartbreak loneliness and learning to love once again. 

“This one has a happy ending,” he said before beginning the song with a smile, which only grew larger as he neared its final words.

The atmosphere was lighthearted compared to previous tours. When Majical Cloudz opened for Lorde’s 2014 tour, its set was melodramatic and emotionally off-putting. Welsh would stare antagonistically into the eyes of audience members while singing songs about love and death.

At Schubas, the mood was much more jovial. Welsh chatted between songs, expressing gratitude for the large turnout and spent much of his time singing with his eyes closed, as if transfixed by the music. The duo even opted out of performing some of its darker, more popular songs like “Bugs Don’t Buzz” from previous LP, Impersonator.

The shift toward a more positive performance style reflected the artistic evolution from Impersonator—which dealt with the band’s usual discourses of love, life and death—to Are You Alone?, which picked up where Impersonator left off, offering a more optimistic point of view on such themes.

Majical Cloudz’ lighthearted banter with the audience only intensified when producer and keyboardist Matthew Otto, who had been grooving to the music behind his keyboard in the back shadow of the stage, stopped between songs to ask for a few minutes to run to the bathroom.

Attendees burst into laughter as Otto ran offstage to the nearest restroom to take a quick bathroom break, leaving Welsh alone on stage in charge of entertaining. He filled the two- to three-minute void with some light chatter with the crowd, reminiscent of the duo’s 2014 performance at Pitchfork Music Festival, when Otto’s keyboard broke, forcing Welsh to perform the set a capella.

Opening for Majical Cloudz was She-Devils, an electronic art pop duo from Montreal. She-Devils frontwoman Audrey Ann lulled her way through an otherworldly set over the distorted but delicate electronics of producer Kyle Jukka, including songs off its self-titled EP, released Jan. 15.

Majical Cloudz also released an EP on Jan. 15, titled Wait & See, and played one of its five songs—“My Heart Soaks Up Every Drop of Your Blood”—during the show. The track was just days old, but fans sang along with the same familiarity they had during the rest of the show.

The duo closed its set on yet another uplifting note with a happier trio of songs including the crooning love song “Downtown,” the nostalgic “This is Magic” and the soothing “Silver Rings.”

“I came to this show expecting to cry, but instead I just smiled,” said one fan while exiting the show, offering the most accurate summary of Majical Cloudz’ Schubas performance of the night.