Devon Welsh

SATURDAY 18TH APRIL 2020

19.30 - 23.00

TB Rescheduled

18+

Can music make you feel less alone? Can it foster intimacy from afar? In his stark songs, which are like
sonic poems, the Canadian artist Devon Welsh has mined such questions with rigor, vulnerability, and
grace. From 2010 to present, his body of work has pushed language to the fore in service of closing the
space between artist and listener, prizing human connection above all.
With his duo Majical Cloudz, Welsh found a huge audience for that vision: he released two
critically-acclaimed LPs with Matador Records, and went from DIY house-show tours to playing arenas
with Lorde. Moreover, Welsh created life-affirming moments: on-stage, he looked people in the
eye—blurring the line between music and performance art—and could bewilder listeners or make them
cry. But after disbanding Majical Cloudz in 2016, Welsh retreated to take stock of his purpose as an artist.
He shifted his relationship with music. His solo album, Dream Songs, arrived in 2018, rescaling the
pulsing heart of his work with arresting orchestral arrangements.
In the wake of Dream Songs, Welsh has taken stock once again. Leaving his longtime home of Montreal,
the Ontario-born artist moved to rural Wisconsin to recalibrate still. Recording in a basement studio and
embracing a quieter, simpler life, he worked on his emotional health through meditation and therapy. His
newest music is in ways a product of those introspective focuses.
Welsh’s second solo album is called True Love, and it strengthens the poetry, illumination, and appealing
minimalism of his best work. Working more fluidly and intuitively than before, Welsh reflects powerfully
on the ambiguous emotional spaces around love—romantic, platonic, internal; how love can be a game, a
daydream, a paradise, or horror. Flipping the fantasy of “true love” that prevails through pop culture,
Welsh set out to articulate the human heart from realer angles and depths: True Love is instead an
honoring and an investigation of “true love”’s complexities. “A lot of the songs are about the difficulties
and grey areas around love—about everything that can go wrong or get complicated about loving
somebody,” Welsh says. “They’re about actual love.”
“As you get older, love becomes so much stranger than the childhood fantasy versions of yearning and
desire,” Welsh says. “Romance can be such a scary thing because there’s so much trust involved—sitting
with uncertainties and reservations, taking a longer look at emotions, trying to understand them. But
there’s a deepening of love, which is the energy that holds people together. There are so many layers, and
there’s so much more love everywhere.”
These nuances are broached stunningly within the rhythmic wordplay of “Somebody Loves You,” on
which Welsh sings out to a beloved but estranged friend and wonders how they’re doing. “Dreamers,”
inspired by two close friends, is a spirited ode to dreamers, to the young fantasies and self-doubts that
come with believing with your whole being in the power of music. The sparkling, acoustic “Grace”—the
very rare Welsh song performed on guitar—feels like a strummed twin to “Dreamers,” like a lovely
product of such childlike optimism, an unmoored jolt of air.
Through the process of True Love, Welsh found himself reflecting on our culture’s rigid notions of
manhood and masculinity, and how they’re implicated in love of all kinds. “The male stereotype is that
you’re not supposed to cry, you’re supposed to be strong and confident and powerful,” he says. “That

feeds into a masculine identity where you can’t look inward and figure out: Who am I that’s distinct from
that? Those stereotypes prevent people from understanding how they can relate to others from an
authentic place—instead of how they feel they’re supposed to be operating.” The novelistic piano-ballad
opener “Uniform” explores this directly and solemnly, paying homage to Welsh’s stepfather and
grandfather, whom he calls his heroes and role models. But it is perhaps the emotionality and
vulnerability of Welsh’s idiosyncratic style that unravels such archetypes most.
There was a novelty to Welsh’s recording process for True Love, which was an overwhelmingly solitary
one. Whereas Majical Cloudz and Dream Songs were distinct collaborations, Welsh worked on his new
music primarily alone. (It was mixed by Austin Tufts, and features additional synths and sound processing
from Nick Schofield and Kyle Jukka.) That self-contained principle extends to how Welsh is continuing
to release music now: removed of the label system, towards an autonomous approach, stemming from his
own comfort zone. “Making music is a personal thing for me,” Welsh says. “Ideally it is a reflection of
something intimate.”
It’s no surprise, then, that True Love’s breezy and especially intimate-sounding “System” is a love song to
the all-consuming powers that its title evokes—a three-minute piece of satire as systemic critique as
indie-pop tune, “feeling totally submitted to the destiny that these massive forces have on you.” With his
characteristic openness, Welsh admits that the fun-house echo chamber of being an artist online had
become wearying in Majical Cloudz. He struggled with a loss of identity, and it left him with a deep
skepticism towards the music industry. “I had a total nervous breakdown with respect to being a
musician,” Welsh says. “The headspace of that world kind of burned me out.”
But he calls his move into self-releasing more natural and emboldening. “There’s no script for how to do
things now,” Welsh says. “I’m just trying to express things that feel intimate and worthwhile, but leaving
it a little bit with a question mark.” In an era of widespread burnout, it feels radical and hopeful to see an
artist reckon with these realities and find a personal path forward—and in his songs, a disarmingly clear sense of self


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Hug & Pint

171 Great Western Road
Glasgow
Lanarkshire
United Kingdom
G4 9AH

Venue Details



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Robyn Hitchcock *Matinee*
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Robyn Hitchcock *Evening*
Summerhall, EdinburghDoors 8.30pm£20.00
THU 18 JUN 2020
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TUE 23 JUN 2020
Soccer Mommy
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SAT 18 JUL 2020
The National Whisky Festival
Summerhall, EdinburghDoors 12 Noon £35.00
MON 20 JUL 2020
Billy Bob Thornton & The Boxmasters
The Queen's Hall, Edinburgh19.00£30.00
FRI 31 JUL 2020
Bambara
Stereo, Glasgow19.30£10.00
THU 6 AUG 2020
Ralph TV
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SAT 8 AUG 2020
Field Music
Summerhall, Edinburgh19.00£17.50
THU 13 AUG 2020
Seazoo
Hug & Pint, Glasgow19.30£8.00
WED 19 AUG 2020
Lankum
Summerhall, EdinburghDoors 7.30pm£20.00
MON 24 AUG 2020
This Will Destroy You
Stereo, GlasgowDoors 7:00pm£20.50
TUE 25 AUG 2020
SWANS
Summerhall, Edinburgh19.00£28.50
The Naked Feedback
Hug & Pint, Glasgow19.30£9.00
WED 26 AUG 2020
Admiral Fallow
Summerhall, Edinburgh19.00£18.50
SAT 29 AUG 2020
mclusky
Summerhall, Edinburgh19.00£20.00
Dr Hook starring Dennis Locorriere
Kelvingrove Bandstand, GlasgowDoors 6:00pmSOLD OUT
SUN 30 AUG 2020
Dr Hook starring Dennis Locorriere
Kelvingrove Bandstand, GlasgowDoors 6:00pmSOLD OUT
Andy Shauf
Summerhall, EdinburghDoors 7pm£16.50
Andy Shauf
Summerhall, EdinburghDoors 7pm£16.50
MON 31 AUG 2020
Andy Shauf
Drygate, Glasgow19:30£15.50
WED 2 SEP 2020
Margaret Glaspy
Mono, Glasgow19:30£14.00
Joan Shelley
Drygate, Glasgow7.30 pm£11.50
MON 7 SEP 2020
GZA 25 Years of Liquid Swords
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TUE 8 SEP 2020
Douglas Dare
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WED 9 SEP 2020
Nordic Giants
CCA, Glasgow19:00£16.00
Pottery
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SUN 13 SEP 2020
Squid
Summerhall, Edinburgh19.00£10.00
TUE 15 SEP 2020
Slum Village & Abstract Orchestra
Summerhall, Edinburgh19.30£20.00
WED 16 SEP 2020
David Ford & Jarrod Dickenson
Summerhall, EdinburghDoors 7.30pm£17.00