Gig Review: M83 @ The Prince Bandroom, 3rd February

If there was ever a time to see M83 live it is now. Armed both with material from their critically acclaimed and insanely popular 2011 double-album, as well as choice numbers from their older records, the band put on an exhilarating and powerful live show at the perfect venue of the Prince Bandroom to an adoring crowd.

The support act, Teenage Mothers, were pulled in mysterious circumstances- all I have to go on is a Facebook status they wrote about a fire on stage during their opening slot the night prior and the venue’s announcement that they wouldn’t be playing. Even though the band’s music scares me slightly it would have been far preferable to the four second loop of horrible music that the venue chose to play on repeat for the half hour prior to M83’s appearance. Again. And again. And again. I’m convinced it would make an effective torture device.

Maybe it was a tactic however, because when M83 eventually did walk onto the stage, in front of a packed house and accompanied by one of the strange creatures from the album cover of ‘Hurry Up We’re Dreaming’, the silence over the PA system almost made me as happy as the band’s appearance. All negative thoughts were forgotten as the band launched into a set featuring a refreshing amount of older material as well as plenty of the bigger, newer tracks.

Intro made a suitable early set appearance, and straight away the sheer power of M83 was boggling, as they created a layered, nuanced, deafening sound that seemed to shake the very venue itself. Coupled with a pretty sweet light show the effect was spectacular. It was impossible not to get caught up in the majesty of the music: every single person got carried away in the energy emanating from the stage and all that mattered was the music. 

Kim And Jessie provided the first sing along of the night as well as the first really big hit, but for me the early highlight of the show was most definitely older track Sitting, which saw the band incorporate cowbell into their electro music spectacularly, resulting in one of the most energetic (predominately) instrumental songs that I have ever heard that simply radiated throughout the Prince. 

The supplementary vocals of Morgan Kibby were at times show-stopping, most notably during Reunion, the wonderfully cheesy throwback to the 80s from ‘Hurry Up We’re Dreaming’. We Own The Sky surprisingly wasn’t greeted with a huge amount of applause, which was indicative of the fact that a lot of the crowd were at the gig solely to hear newer material, but it was nevertheless spectacular. While the more introverted moments of M83 may have seemed slightly underwhelming in comparison to their pulsing upbeat numbers, they were in their own way just as powerful.

Anthony Gonzalez was completely charming and dominated the stage as a frontman. While banter was kept to a minimum it was obvious that he was very thankful of the crowd, and everything that he said came across as very genuine. Midnight City predictably received the largest response from the crowd as everyone let loose, but to me the live version was ever so slightly lacking in power when compared to the studio track. That isn’t to say that it wasn’t amazing however, because it really was. Indeed one of the highlights of the show was the fantastic and extended saxophone solo that constituted the second half of the song.

The band departed the stage briefly before returning for a three-song encore highlighted by the captivating Couleurs which saw the return of the cowbell and the energy in the venue lift yet again. One final goodbye later the band were gone, leaving the venue still positively buzzing and desperate for another encore that never came. I guess the fact that after an hour and a half of music we still wanted more speaks volumes for just how good this show was.

It was powerful in a way very similar to LCD Soundsystem’s live performances. It’s a power kind of difficult to describe to anyone who hasn’t witnessed it. It’s not exactly in your face, but rather it’s something of an energy rush that seems to permeate through a venue, as if everyone in the place instantaneously skulled a dozen Red Bulls. M83 play music that catches you and doesn’t let go, and their live show does credit to the nuances and passion of their studio work. 

The only sad thing about the night was that, when all was said and done, for some unknown and unfathomable reason, it was still that fucking four second loop of music that was stuck in my head as I walked out of the venue.

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