Sunday night just reconfirmed what I mentioned in the Justice review, the French just do electro better. Now, in no way is M83 the same as Justice in style but it shares a similar French flair, individuality and of course synth. It’s a lot more ambient than hard hitting electric beats of Justice. On style it reminded me a lot of Explosion in the Sky (which I HIGHLY recommend to both listen to and to go watch) with less attention to detail to the instruments as they have two (and now three) complimentary singers. Let me get into the details:
The show started with one of the members on the stage wearing the mask gracing (or grossing) the front of their debut single Midnight City and their latest album Hurry up, We’re dreaming. The title is much more charming than the cover. The lights were low and gloomy and the masked figure raised an arm as the crowd started to cheer.
The set started with one of my favourite tracks, the simple but very effective Intro Ft Zola Jesus. This with the mix of some tangeriny purple misty lights is just the perfect build up to a start of a show. The lighting continued to be very effective throughout the whole show (again something they share with Justice but in a completely different style). There were many different shades, colours and ambiences created which was very effective and added lovely contrast.
It is clear that the band has come a long way since their originally started in 2000. Only Antony Gonzales remains of the original duo after Nicolas Fromageau left after their second album. Anthony has now got the support of the multi-talented Morgan Kibby on vocals and keyboard as well as Loïc Maurin on the drums.
Antony also posted online open audition to recruit a very versatile musician who can sing, play guitar, keyboards and bass. The auditions were done via youtube where applicants posted videos.
I could not find the results of the auditions anywhere but was automatically charmed by the charismatic curly haired member on the left of the stage. He-who-is-not-Google-search-friendly is definitely overly talented. Not to mention a very good entertained on stage. He ended the show climbing on some platform and clapping and hyping up the audience And his addition melted smoothly into the sounds produced by other members.
Also if you want to have a laugh check the guy that obviously didn’t make it.
So back to the concert. The crowd was very lukewarm at the beginning but as the songs started to flow they loosened up and I was happy that my jumps were met and matched by more and more people around me. I love Les Docks. The room is just the right size, the line-up is always great, the price completely reasonable, but sometimes the crowd there can be a bit boring. I was happy this changed along the way.
It also helped that Anthony announced it was their first proper performance in Switzerland (outside festivals) and that it was their last date on their tour and that they really were going to give it everything they had and hoped we could enjoy a great night together. The crowd really reacted well to this. And every song that passed the cheers became louder and louder.
I thought the sound quality fantastic and the instrumentals really beautifully played out. Even though to be fair there was a large amount of prerecording (such as the iconic saxophone on Midnight City). I really enjoyed Morgan’s dreamy voice on some of her solos such as on We Own The Sky and how it melts into the two male voices so seamlessly. Another highlight was the drum solo on Lower your Eyelids to Die (the second last song they played). It is nice to see Anthony really letting the newest addition having their full chance to shine (while he turns the knob of his massive sound board). All their contributions really painted this Milky Skylines they sing about right in front of your eyes.
The only thing I was surprised was I thought the delivery of Midnight City (their hugely popular hit) could have been stronger. Don’t get me wrong we all loved it, I just thought the band could have brought that performance one notch stronger.
But overall I enjoy and jumped and moved to every minute of their galaxy inspired mystical tunes. Ambient and effective. And I felt like M83 was not just named after the spiral galaxy Messier 83 but because it took me there.
I’ll even forgive them for this sell out.