band crush: majical cloudz

devon welsh has his own take on live shows.

by ray siegel

If the goal of performance art is to bridge the gap between the artist and the audience--the moody synth band Majical Cloudz does fall into this category, though not in the traditional sense. To make their "emotional diary-like entries set to gray loops and synthesizer melodies" come to life, 24 year-old Devon Welsh and his bandmate Matthew Otto knock down, or rather, bulldoze right through the invisible wall between themselves and their audience, as they set out to try to expose as much as they can during each live show.

"There's this whole structure of how a show works that has decades of reinforcement behind it; things like the encore and applause. Those are both awesome things, but they're second nature. Then there's the way that people relate to performers and the way they treat performers on stage.The performers have banter that goes back and forth: saying the name of the CD and being thankful.

There's all of these little things that make the show so formalized--without any human substance. I was really put off by that when I would see shows growing up. The more involved I became, I increasingly felt that there could be more to a show," Welsh says. "The whole energy of the piece comes from the audience themselves it's not fun to play to a sea of faces that you don't know anything about or having anything to do with. And then you just play your songs and get off the stage. It's more enjoyable to try to do something that goes beyond that typical music performance format and relate to people in some way." The Majical Cloudz approach to performance is much appreciated, having seen shows where the audience can sense that the the band doesn't want to be there. Of course, every performer has an off night. But based on what we've heard from Welsh--along with his show attendees----he and Otto are giving you their best every time.

And instead of the obligatory, "thanks for coming out tonight," they'll lock eyes with you and keep you entranced well past the show's encore. Music reviewers have rushed to call Majical Cloudz' Impersonator the best record they've heard all year, so listen and see if you agree. Check here for a full US and European tour schedule along with Grizzly Bear, Body/Head, Daniel Avery, and Roosevelt.

First, watch the band's video for "Childhood's End," featuring Devon Welsh's dad who you might recognize as Windom Earle from Twin Peaks