Intense may be the operative word used to describe John Maus live in concert.
Known for his one-man sets, it’s not uncommon to see the Minnesota native emotively pull his hair or scratch his eyes while screaming above his pre-recorded electro-pop tunes.
Currently on tour to promote his Addendum album from 2018, Maus stood solely centre stage, surrounded by amps, clad in garb that made him resemble a meek Silicone Valley programmer.
Held at Toronto’s cavernous The Opera House, he certainly did not disappoint, cathartically serving up his eccentric catalogue of melodic oddities while the sold-out crowd devoured them feverishly.
Beginning with My Whole World Is Coming Apart, Maus’s half-sung, half-shouted delivery was accompanied by his facial muscles contorting rather unnervingly, finalizing into a quivering, living embodiment of outsider art.
From one song to the next, a through line of glacial synths pushed the audience closer and closer, bouncing in euphoric pockets to fan favourites such as Quantum Leap and Touchdown.
Offering a sizeable amount of tracks off his latest release, Maus performed in his designated area, sometimes maniacally extending towards the crowd while howling afflicted lyrics.
Emblematic of the night, the crowd always gave back, sometimes even more, mimicking him with the same wounded expressions.
Drenched in sweat from head to toe, Maus concluded the evening with a resounding version of his best and most buoyant work, Believer. However, a visible toll had taken him by this point.
Nevertheless, the mop-topped anomaly – whose wide eyes projected a thousand-yard stare – remained both preacher and choir, divinely possessed in spreading his good, albeit singular, word.