M83 at Town Ballroom - REVIEW
blog by Deandra Modica • May 08, 2012 @ 2:05pm
The Band: M83 became one of the most talked about buzz bands this year with the release of its sixth studio album, Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming, last October. The colossal double album popped up on several top 2011 record lists and the brains behind the masterpiece, French electropop hero Anthony Gonzalez, finally found the success he’s long deserved. Jordan Lawlor (bass), Loïc Maurin (drums) and longtime contributor Morgan Kibby (keyboards/vocals) joined Gonzalez on stage for their sold out show and first appearance in Buffalo last night.
Gonzalez first emerged in the music scene in 2001 with his ambient sound reminiscent of the 1980s British shoegaze genre. The multi-instrumentalist’s self-titled debut album released that year generated a following in Europe, and M83’s second record, Dead Cities, Red Seas & Lost Ghosts, earned the group widespread critical acclaim after its release in 2003. Positive reviews for tracks like “Kim & Jessie” and “Graveyard Girl” from their 2008 album Saturdays = Youth paved the way for Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming.
With near-headlining slots at the Coachella and Ultra music festivals in their back pocket and a slew of concert dates this summer, it’s no surprise that Rolling Stone recently predicted a breakthrough for the band by the end of their current tour. At the rate they’re going, M83 might be selling out arena shows in the near future.
The Venue: Town Ballroom (681 Main St., Buffalo) proved to be the perfect location for M83’s Buffalo introduction. There were plenty of spots to take in the dazzling lights and atmospheric instrumentals, and attendees were packed in every nook and cranny.
The Crowd: I anticipated a subdued crowd and plenty of head nods during this concert, but as the humidity level rose in the Town Ballroom, the audience came alive. A mob of 20-somethings sprinkled with middle-aged men (thanks to the Victoria’s Secret commercial?) clapped along, fist pumped (You know who you are) and busted out some serious moves during “Midnight City” and “Couleurs.”
The Performance: Thanks to the success surrounding Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming, M83’s first appearance in Buffalo was highly anticipated and man, did they deliver.
Gonzalez has compared his latest record to a rollercoaster ride, and I can’t think of a better way to describe last night’s performance. M83’s softer tracks were juxtaposed with loud, beat heavy songs throughout the 80-minute concert, and the result was exhilarating. The well-orchestrated light show didn’t hurt either.
After an appearance from the “Midnight City” creature, the band started off the show with “Intro” and “Teen Angst” before diving into “Graveyard Girl.” Gonzalez had the crowd wrapped around his finger by the time he reached “Reunion,” and his bandmates weren’t far behind. Lawlor’s take on the running man during “Sitting” and his tendency to ricochet across the stage with every skittering beat was fantastic, and Kibby matched Gonzalez’s outstanding vocals with her own clear, ethereal voice.
“Midnight City” was definitely the fan favorite of the night and Gonzalez seemed to be as energized by it as the crowd as he danced with Kibby and glided across the stage smiling during the saxophone solo. He was on his back by the conclusion of “Guitar and a Heart” and slid out onto the stage on his knees for an encore with “Skin” and “Couleurs.”
The Verdict: After 11 years in the business, it appears that the stars have finally aligned for Gonzalez. While many came to the show humming the hit “Midnight City,” I think it’s safe to say they left with a new tune in their heads. With pulsating beats and evocative vocals, M83’s music is even more mesmerizing live, and the 15-song set sampling tracks from Gonzalez’s lengthy career left me wanting more.
Check out this video of “Midnight City” shot at the Town Ballroom if you missed out.
Featured photo by Buffalo.com’s Erica Morano