This past Monday, Luis Dubuc, better known as Mystery Skulls, stopped by The Foundry as part of the summer tour to promote his latest album, Back to Life. In addition to bringing his danceable, disco-inspired pop songs to Fishtown, Mystery Skulls also brought along his longtime companions and collaborators, Snowblood and Phangs, to open his show, making the event feel like a joyful gathering of friends for the artists and audience members.
The connection between the artists was something that was undeniably felt by the audience. The show’s first opener, Snowblood, repeatedly mentioned how excited she was to see Dubuc perform and how much she enjoyed working with him. She grooved effortlessly to her own moody electro-pop songs and completely owned the stage with her strong voice and dance moves. Snowblood also played with accessories throughout her set—adding a scarf here and there—which heightened her stage presence and allowed her to embody a different persona for each song she performed.
Phangs brought the crowd closer both physically and emotionally, despite admitting that he doesn’t like talking on stage because he gets “weird.” He shared how his recent marriage and birth of his son inspired him to write his song “Good Now,” and when he performed it, he instructed audience members to sing along to the chorus and converge towards the stage so he could perform as close to them as possible. Phangs also took some time to speak on how important Dubuc has been in his life, likening him to a big brother. In fact, Dubuc was the one who taught him to produce and play music and inspiring him to commit to his passion. The appreciation that the artists of the show had for one another was palpable and it made the audience that much more excited for each act.
Finally, Mystery Skulls took the stage. His set began darkness; then, dazzling rays of light began to emanate from behind him, transcending through the venue and illuminating only his silhouette. The energy that his uptempo music brings is infectious, and shortly after the first song he declared that “this show is already a dance party!” His uptempo, syncopated grooves took priority in his set; shadows and fog enshrouded most of his body, and he spoke a handful of times to express his gratitude for his fans. What could be seen was only a dazzling array of lights and the figure of the man who controlled them, thus allowing the music to be the main attraction of the show rather than Mystery Skulls himself.
Dubuc is a multi-instrumentalist—he played drums in a hardcore band and taught himself the piano and the guitar—but he performed with only a pair of CDJs and a microphone. While he gave an impressive vocal performance and seamlessly transitioned between songs, I would have liked for him to bring more of a live aspect to his set rather than just singing over a backing track while a few filters and other audio effects.
Mystery Skulls’ setlist spanned most of his discography, and then some. He played tracks from his earliest EP, some of his more popular songs such as “Magic”, and of course music from his recent album. Snowblood also came on stage to perform their track “Dying For You”, and later Phangs joined both of them to cover “Eye to Eye” by Tevin Campbell. The audience responded enthusiastically to each song, continuously grooving all throughout the show. The set ended with the song “Ghost,” one of Dubuc’s most popular, and he invited the audience to put their hands up and jump. Halfway through the song, he declared “I love you all so much. I mean it every time I say it.” Given the enthusiastic cheers that ensued and the giddy smiles of fans as they tumbled after the venue, I would say that the love was felt throughout all of the crowd.
Back To Life
One Of Us
Pompeya – Real (Mystery Skulls Remix)
Losing My Mind
Dying For You
Don’t Fuck With My Money
Eye To Eye
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