i was there: M83 at 930 club, early show

14 May

Wow, three weeks without a post? How did that happen?! Oh, I know: I went to Europe for two weeks. And, as anyone who travels knows, the week following a 15-day trip pretty much requires exhaustive effort just to get out of bed in the morning and deal with the fact that you’re not traveling. Sigh.

BUT! I am back in action. Specifically back in show action, with the long-awaited M83 double show at the 930 Club this past week. While I had tickets to both instances of the double-header, I decided to share the wealth and sell the tickets to a friend.

Those of you who went probably recall that this show wasn’t originally listed as a two-parter. Back in February, 930 Club announced the show and it sold out instantly (as in, less than 5 minutes instantly). Those of us who scored tickets felt beyond victorious- our time spent glued to Ticketfly and hitting refresh had paid off!

But our gloating was short-lived. A few weeks later, the show time was moved up and a late show was added. All of the sudden, “the show” was now “the early show.” I don’t think I was alone in feeling a little perturbed by this move. The tickets were pricey, and having an early and late show implies that each one will be at best short and at worst incomplete. So, while I was obviously stoked for this musical experience that was months in the making, it felt a little strange arriving at the 930 Club when it was still light outside for an event that was supposed to be the highlight of my show season.

Nonetheless, I went in with a positive attitude and was antsy to see if the band would live up to my friends’ raves about their Coachella set. And ultimately, the show met all of my expectations. Yes, the sound/energy/song choices were awesome; yes, it was too early and too short.

Given the structure and content of M83’s albums, at least their two most recent ones (Hurry Up We’re Dreaming and Saturdays = Youth), I was less concerned about the actual song choices, but more concerned about their order and how they fit and flowed together. More so than almost any band I listen to regularly, I refuse to listen to an M83 album out of order. The songs are strong, but the album is really a mosaic; the beauty is in the holistic experience. If you listened to their tunes as singles, many of them simply wouldn’t make sense. You wouldn’t get why a voice track of a little girl talking about frogs is awesome and not random (“Raconte-Moi Une Histoire,” sadly not played).

With that criteria in mind, I think the actual performance was spectacular. The band played a wide spectrum of songs, ticked off most of the hits (except no “Kim and Jessie” whaaaat?), but- most importantly- it flowed really well, even though the songs obviously didn’t follow album order.

I was also pleasantly surprised at the number of musicians on stage with Anthony Gonzales, M83’s only permanent member. The bevy of artists and instruments on stage obviously made for a richer, fuller sound without the need to rely on loops, and many of the band members straight multiplied the amount of energy on stage- I was grateful for their presence and their head banging throughout.

Other specific song highlights include “New Map,” the anthemic “Midnight City” (obviously brought the house down), and the encore, which made the previously lackluster crowd finally get on board and move their feet.

But, of course, it ended far too soon. I’m looking forward to reading about the late show and figuring out if the experience would have been any better had I stayed for the late show, but really I feel I shouldn’t have been faced with that choice. On the bright side, though, it was quite nice leaving the 930 Club with essentially a whole Saturday night ahead of you. I could get used to that.

 

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