This past Tuesday I had the pleasure of seeing M83 perform live at the WaMu Theater. The show was as epic as one would expect, and my only complaints arose from the venue itself.
M83 opened up their set with ambient synth drones until blasting head-first into “Reunion” as the first song of the set. While the mix did come off bass-heavy, due to the acoustics of WaMu, the reverb-drenched vocals floated excellently over the top. Anthony Gonzalez and his band transitioned instantly into a rendition of the first single from the new album, “Do It, Try It”. I’m not a huge fan of the recorded version of this song, but hearing it in a live setting did bring out the energy and excitement of the song in a way that was enjoyable to dance to.
Continuing on further into the set, M83 continued to mix old hits with new tracks as personal favorites such as “Steve McQueen” found their way into the mix. The concert stayed at relative high energy for a majority of the first half with most of the songs steadily growing until reaching a climax at the end. An excellent contrast to this was the performance of the song “Wait” which came about half way through the concert. The lights dimmed and only shimmering stars on the backdrop shown through while the beautifully simple acoustic guitar began to reach out and the whole crowd went silent. It seemed everyone in the crowd had their arm around at least one other person for the duration of the song. This ended up being the standout moment of the concert for me, as M83 showed the power music can have on bringing everyone together.
Following the journey of “Wait”, the music kicked back into gear as more synth explosions and energetic drums continued to move the crowd. An 8+ minute jam on the song “Couleurs” grooved non-stop while the classic “Midnight City” saw the crowd jumping uncontrollably as everyone sang along with the sax solo. After many new and old tracks, M83 ended their encore with “Lower Your Eyelids To Die With The Sun”. Another one of my personal favorites, the song almost seems to be a representation of M83 in its most basic and purest form.
As a band, M83 performed excellently. They were tight and together while bringing the energy to the stage. It would have been great to see the band taking more risks as the set list did feel incredibly well rehearsed to the point of it feeling cemented into only existing in one version. The sound did come off as being slightly unbalanced at some points, but as with any live performance, location of listening plays a huge factor into how one perceives the mix. On a visual note, the stage glowed vibrant of neon as lights danced around the theater and the songs took on a new life of their own. Masters of having a sound infinitely bigger than themselves and channeling the nostalgia of our youth, M83 create an experience with their live set and it’s one I would recommend to anyone.