Are You Alone? is the name of Majical Cloudz’s sophomore release, which landed the #25 spot on LA Music Blog’s Top 50 Albums of 2015 list and made my personal Top 10. It’s also the question you could have asked me as I attended the duo’s last stop on their US tour in support of the album, and I would have answered, “Yes.”

I did enter the beautiful-as-always Masonic Lodge at Hollywood Forever Cemetery by myself with camera wrapped around my neck, but I left there feeling anything but alone. As personal and brutally honest as their lyrics are and with their timbre facing more inward than outward, Majical Cloudz ensured that their set was something to be experienced together.

They also lightened up the crowd with awkwardly funny banter, bringing hands together for communal clapping during songs and commanding the stage for 70 minutes as Devon Welsh’s baritone voice raised the hairs and Matthew Otto’s sonics lifted the souls of me and my fellow patrons.

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Photos by David Fisch

Majical Cloudz’s tour was in support of the new album, which I was happy to have seen arranged a bit differently for the live setting and particularly at the Masonic Lodge. The group’s music video for “Game Show” with live recorded audio is a solid example of what was seen and heard (though the track was not a part of this set).

The lushness of the studio recordings wasn’t entirely stripped away, but there was an obvious decision made to let Welsh’s voice bring the lyrics to an even rawer level. The intimate room felt full even though the stage only held a man with a microphone and a man with an electronic machine. The duo commanded it, though, as they performed with such focus that it made the funny breaks between each track appear a little thoughtless.

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Still, those moments of brevity were necessary. We know just based on Majical Cloudz’s music alone that they have intense and direct feelings towards life and love, and these breaks gave us the opportunity to get to know the Devon and Matt on the other side of reality: happy and funny and awkward and weird.

Devon made it a point to announce to the audience that they were just going to play more songs, to which one patron said, “‘Downtown!’ You know you have to play ‘Downtown.'” Yes, “Downtown” is a single from the new album, but this struck me as very peculiar, only because the duo doesn’t “have” to play anything.

They hadn’t asked for any requests, and there are no obligations during live performances. Sure, I would have loved to hear the band play “Game Show” or “Turns Turns Turns,” but the setlist felt expertly crafted, another aspect of their performance that exhibited their focus. They did play “Downtown” immediately after that shout-out, though, which makes me think that person was a “plant” and a part of the act, but I will admit it irked me a tad.

Otherwise, Majical Cloudz at the Masonic Lodge made for a memorable evening. It was reverential given the setting, and their solemn and subtle musical hues enhanced the senses. Thanks to the band’s playful vibe with the audience and our equally good-natured reactions, I may have been alone at Majical Cloudz’s show, but I was never lonely.

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