notes from the road: M83, Neumos, 11.13.11

It was obvious before M83 took the stage at Neumos in Seattle last Sunday night that it was going to be an epic show.  Having been lucky enough to catch their set at Fun Fun Fun fest the weekend before, I knew what to expect, but I couldn’t help but be blown away by the fact that M83 had suddenly been touted as THE tour to catch this year.  Ever since the release of the heavily ambitious Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming (with a runtime of 80 minutes), the band has been on a rocketship of popularity.  Ignited by the single, Midnight City, clubs across the continent have been transformed into churches — tickets selling out extremely quick, even as shows are moved to larger venues.  Ticket prices for San Francisco were going for almost $200 a pop AFTER the show was moved from the Independent to the much larger (and more appropriate) Mezzanine.  In Seattle, Neumos held onto the booking by adding an early show at 6:00pm.  The gushing reviews, my own experience down in Austin, and the early-crowd’s conversations as they passed those of us in line, all spoke the same language — M83 had created a new wave — a wave they will ride from audiences of hundreds to those of thousands before this tour cycle is over.

It was also immediately obvious that this music was best suited to a small, dark venue as Intro led us into a laser-studded spectacular — a live soundtrack to a forgotten John Hughes film.  The small, but excellent sounding Neumos was the perfect venue.

Follow us, we are one

I have been a huge fan of M83 since 2005‘s Before The Dawn Heals Us, and I always thought it was the work of a single man — French-producer Anthony Gonzalez.  And although he is the driving force behind the band, the live experience would not be the same with the the angelic voice of Morgan KibbyGonzalez, his brother Yann, Kibby and Brad Laner really do act as one onstage — bringing a level of humanity not often found in synthpop.  This persona, however, does not get in the way of the repetition needed to get bodies moving.  Teen Angst broke it down to basics with its ‘How fast we burn, how fast we cry‘, getting hands in the air and the occasional ‘I can’t feel my teeth‘ from those on Molly or E.  But it wasn’t until the breakdown in Reunion that I was 100% sold.  From that point on, I set it on auto and let the time-machine take me away.

Like every great show, new songs bled into old and vice versa.  The ebb-and-flow were on point, allowing pulsating revelers and stoic hipsters to share a tiny space without issue.  Falling somewhere in the middle of these two crowds, I felt a calmness in my own thoughts during the older material — remembering the times and places where I used to listen to it, as well as those times and places it serves to celebrate.  During the newer material, I found myself on a high — hands in the air, waving in the green spectrum of lasers and beats. 

M83 are living up to the hype, and I highly recommend catching this show if you can.  Even on a Sunday night, after performing the same show two times in a row, the band proved to be legit — ending the encore on a high note with the much requested Couleurs.  

Active Child served as the perfect warm-up as well.  Having reviewed their show a few times before, I will just leave it as act worth seeing.

Great night all around, glad I happened to be in Seattle!

Setlist:
Intro
Teen Angst
Reunion
Kim & Jessie
Year One, One UFO
We Own The Sky
Steve McQueen
Wait
This Bright Flash
Claudia Lewis
Midnight City
A Guitar And A Heart

Skin Of The Night
Couleurs