M83 2/16 Shepherds Bush Empire London Review/Photos

By Michael Zonenashvili

I realized I’ll never see M83 in a small venue. Something I would normally complain about, for M83, is a good thing. The shows revolving around “Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming” deserve to be seen in rooms with enough people dancing to cause a small earthquake. I said the show I saw on the first leg of the tour was the best I’ve seen in 2011, and Antony Gonzales and crew have already made an important dent in 2012.

“Intro” is perhaps the only song that won’t get people dancing, but at the start of the show it riles people up. The drumfill after the second first sent the audience into a chanting frenzy as the four piece created an enormous amount of sound before launching into a chunk of older tunes. The one-two punch of “Teen Angst” and “Kim and Jessie” were thunderous, Antony’s voice combined with the amazing pipes on Morgan Kibby(Keys) sounded quite perfect.

One thing that makes the M83 live show so interesting is how certain songs are arranged in the live setting. Many of them have extended electronic-based jam sessions, and many are just made unrecognizable unless you read the setlist. Set closer “Guitar and a Heart” was a building bassline-jam before launching into a complete EDM song complete with lazer sounds. “Teen Angst” had an arpeggio sequence riff that Gonzales manipulated into melodies on his massive analog synth rig, and the ending of “We Own The Sky” wasn’t slow an sensual but rather a hard-hitting explosive outro.

It’s hard to describe the M83 show as anything but sexy. “Skin of The Night” was the only slow jam of the night, but Kibby nailed every note while red and pink lights poured over the venue. We were treated to a real saxophone player for “Midnight City” and the audience ate it up. The slap-bass line of “Claudia Lewis” was evocative of the funkiest and sexiest music that was before most of the audience’s time.

The last song, “Coleurs” was definitely the highlight of the show yet again. The nine minute instrumental had started as only a washed out bassline before evolving into a full fledged electronic powerhouse with light show to match. For just about thirty seconds there was a pause before the grand finale where Gonzales and the bassist got on guitar and bass to double the volume and intensity of the song, and the crowd just erupted in jumping and chanting to a song that had no words.

M83 has a good thing going with this tour. They were able to match the hype of one of the most critically acclaimed albums of 2011 with a live show that more people can see. It may in-fact be the perfect bridge between electronic music and indie-rock, and who doesn’t want that?

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