M83 5/28/08 @ Triple Rock
There are some bands (like the Flaming Lips) that you see for the sheer spectacle. The music is great, but the band really puts on a show, and that’s what keeps people coming back. Then, there are bands that you see for sight-bands that look good on stage, and know it. People have gravitated towards the Strokes and Interpol, not exclusively for how they sound, but for how they look, and their live show reflects that somewhat, as both bands don’t have much of a stage presence, but look quite stylish. Finally, there are bands that you go see live for the sound-and last night’s M83 show at the Triple Rock was one of these shows. I knew early on that seeing what the band was doing on stage wasn’t nearly as important as hearing what they were doing, so I settled in back by the soundboard, not able to see the band at all, and not caring, because the sound that filled the room last evening was absolutely sublime.
Touring with three other musicians (drummer Loic Maurin, guitarist/bassist Pierre Marie-Maulani, and keyboardist Morgan Kibby on backing vocals), Anthony Gonzalez completely elevated everyone in the room last night, with songs that, to me, sounded just like Summer. Anthony and his band gave life to the serene French soundscapes that fill his music, easily winning over the crowded room with their layered, textured synth pop. I find myself comparing M83 to another French band, Air, because both bands create sounds that allow the listener plenty of space to get lost in. And while Air have lately fallen into the trap of having too many lyrics in their music (for my taste, at least), M83 played a set of music last night that was relatively lyric free. Even on the songs that had lyrics, the words were just a mere accompaniment to the sonic tides crashing over the audience. The Triple Rock is the best sounding room in the Twin Cities, in my opinion, and last night was one of the best aural experiences I’ve had in recent memory. The sound was glorious, and all I could do was close my eyes and give myself up to the music.
There are some musicians (Jonny Greenwood is one of them) that turn knobs on instruments I’ve never seen, thus creating sounds I’ve never heard. Anthony Gonzalez is another one of those musicians, and rather that fixating on how he is making that sound by twisting those knobs, it’s best to just listen. It was funny to me that the crowd didn’t really cheer much as Anthony came onstage unaccompanied, opening with a partial rendering of the droning instrumental “Midnight Souls Still Remain.” In fact, the crowd cheered louder when the other three members of the band strolled out, perhaps confused about which one Anthony was. The set leaned heavily on tracks from the superb new record “Saturdays=Youth,” with standouts being ‘Graveyard Girl,’ ‘We Own The Sky,’ ‘Kim & Jessie,’ and the wonderful encore ‘Couleurs.’ Older songs were sprinkled in, as well, with ‘Run Into Flowers’ and ‘Gone’ from 2003’s “Dead Cities, Red Seas & Lost Ghosts,” and ‘Guitar And A Heart,’ ‘*’ and ‘Moonchild’ from 2005’s “Before The Dawn Heals Us” all sounding absolutely incredible.
The Triple Rock has fast become my favorite music venue in the Twin Cities, based on size, sound, and shows, and last night was just another stellar gig to add to the litany of great concerts I’ve seen there. The sound was perfect, and the band seemed to be in good spirits, definitely throwing themselves into their music. I was surprised that the crowd wasn’t dancing or moving a little more-M83 is certainly music you can move to, but the audience was rather sedate, voicing their approval with raucous applause rather than bad dance moves. But overall it was an outstanding show, with the layered soundscapes of M83 soundtracking the imminent arrival of Summer.
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