Posted in Artist, Live Shows

M83 @ Middle East Downstairs, Boston, MA 6/2/2008

For M83 it’s always about drama. That’s one thing you can say has stayed consistent between his latest album, Saturday’s = Youth, and his past works such as Dead Cities, Red Seas & Lost Ghosts (Pick up M83 music from Amazon MP3). During the show last night I was curious to see how Anthony Gonzalez, main Frenchy behind the sounds of M83, would mix in his collection of sounds with the new heavy 80’s drama themed material.

To my surprise there wasn’t a very big difference between the songs, besides “Graveyard Girl” and “Kim & Jessie”. “Graveyard Girl”, for all it’s hype and single talk, it’s not one of my favorite tunes. It gets old really quickly. But “Kim & Jessie” is a classic 80’s tune that really flows. In fact, last night I was getting Don Henley flashes. I think it was “Boys of Summer”. There is a synth line that sounds like a seagull screaming that reminds me a bit of this classic Henley tune. In my book that’s not a bad thing.

I asked an M83 fan, who has been with M83 since his earlier works, what she thought of the show. For her, it was M83’s haunting presence that led her to many a nights staying up listening to the sounds, wondering where or how they were created. She feels that the new material lacks some of this haunt. However, songs like “Couleurs” and “Skin of the Night” are hard to deny.

We both agreed that the show stopper was Morgan Kibby on female vocals. She did one heck of a job with her lines. It was like I was listening to her voice on the album. Take note Ashley Simpson, to be a singer, you do actually need to sound like the same person live. Morgan’s voice is really impressive and just like Anthony said he fell in love with her voice as soon as he heard it on myspace, I’m sure show goers will have the same experience.

Another point made by my friend was that the Middle East has relatively a rough sound setup. The low ceiling ends up causing a lot of music to sound distorted. So great for heavier, more concrete sounding tunes, such as M83’s older material, but not all that great for his latest stuff. Songs like “Graveyard Girl” and “Kim & Jessie” were not as crisp as they are on the album.

But you couldn’t say “not crisp” about the overall performance of the band. Anthony and company were on point last night. That’s why I was so disappointed of the resistance to extend on a tune. The encore, “Couleurs”, was even cut in half. The whole second half of the tune, when it really gets rocking, was not explored.

In the end, I love Saturdays = Youth and since they were so on point and the vocals were perfect, this show was definitely solid and also very hot. Literally hot. I couldn’t imagine what it was like for the band. Just wish they would let go a little more when reaching some of those climatic events. But perhaps that’s my ex-jam band mind talking.

I didn’t pick up the full setlist but I found one online from another show on the 20th of May. It looks to be fairly close to what they played last night although I’m not too familiar with his older material so this may not be completely accurate. But the new material looks to all be the same.

01 – Run Into Flowers
02 – Graveyard Girl
03 – Fields, Shorelines And Hunters
04 – Moon Child
05 – We Own The Sky
06 – Gone
07 – Kim And Jessie
08 – Highway Of Endless Dreams
09 – Don’t Save Us From The Flames
10 – Skin Of The Night
11 – A Guitar And A Heart

12 – Couleurs (only played 1/2 of the song in Boston)

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