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Review: The Soft Moon and Majical Cloudz make me double happy

Posted by Chris DeVille | January 14, 2013 11:48 AM


Majical Cloudz

Five quick thoughts on Sunday night's The Soft Moon/Majical Cloudz show at Double Happiness:

(1) While "Argo" and Affleck were getting their due and Jodie Foster was ruffling feathers and Justin Timberlake was making his underwhelming return, I was in a Brewery District bar watching a girl get eaten by a piano. Although I'd prefer to stay in touch with the outside world, I've got to hand it to Double Happiness for cultivating an atmosphere.

(2) The first thing that struck be about Majical Cloudz was Devon Welsh's unwavering confidence. Lots of frenzied frontmen have been known to get down on the floor and run wild through the audience, but few singers have the balls to stand down there and croon passionately, flashing an unbreakable stare now and then. He was the fey, scrawny Henry Rollins. Welsh brought along Matthew Otto to deploy Majical Cloudz' richly conceived synth wash (and on the last song, bass detonations!), but even if he was just singing over canned tracks this would have been stirring.

(3) In the paper I compared Welsh's voice to Stephin Merritt and Calvin Johnson, but in concert I found his range to be far wider than that. His heart-pouring baritone surged across the spectrum from Xiu Xiu to Coldplay, grazing the fragility of Sigur Ros while maintaining a prim, proper diction that'd do Morrissey proud. Dude is a virtuoso.

(4) The best way I can describe The Soft Moon is "Echo and the Boogeymen." The sound was so dark and aggressive that I almost wonder if Luis Vasquez and his two sidekicks postponed their Columbus gig last November because it was to be an early show. They found lots of off-kilter ways to intensify their take on darkwave, from unexpected percussion flourishes (shakers and bongos were wielded) to noise bursts straight out of the A Place to Bury Strangers playbook. I don't know why I expected this show to be subtle, but I was plenty pleased to be blown away.
 
(5) The Soft Moon's set definitely merited an encore, but I still didn't expect to see one at a tiny show like this one. They made it count, Vasquez sending his howl reverberating through the echo chamber to tangle with Kevin Tecon's sense-battering snare gallop. This was wedding at Cana levels of saving the best for last.

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