M83 performed Monday at the Town Ballroom
Concert review by Sophia Smith
If you weren't at the "I Break Horses"/M83 show in Buffalo this week, you really missed out on one of the coolest local concerts of the year. The critically adored French band M83 put out one of the best albums of 2011 - so why would you miss an event like that? If you really want to catch them on their hot, hot tour of 2012, you can buy tickets for the Aug. 4 "Hard Toronto" Festival and make the trek a bit up north. Promise it will be worth it. Check pollstar.com for their tour info.
The first thing we were served up was not music, rather a dude in an alien costume holding court on the Town Ballroom stage. Presumably the same outfit shown on the artwork from their smash hit single cover for "Midnight City." The playlist was a mix of songs from all of their albums. They started fittingly with Intro, a mellow and breathy song opening with the whispers of the hot babe on keyboard (Morgan Kibby). If you are curious about the playlist, click here:http://www.setlist.fm/setlist/m83/2012/town-ballroom-buffalo-ny-bdfb17e.html.
They played their hits accompanied by a '70s-style light extravaganza, highlighting the electronic genius of frontman Anthony Gonzalez who formed the band in 2001. Their massive hit "Midnight City" came toward the end of the first set, rather than the encore, and I was pleasantly surprised to hear it so soon. It still sounds fresh, unique and ethereal to me, despite having heard it hundreds of times. It was even better live, where I could feel the music thumping in my chest and throat.
What a pleasure to see this talented band on the brink of major stardom—their 2012 tour has been a whirlwind. They played Coachella in April, which was arguably the best concert of the year - if not the decade - for alternative music lovers. Some of the heavy-hitters there were The Black Keys, Radiohead, Bon Iver, Arctic Monkeys, Kaskade, Mazzy Star, Grouplove and Santigold. I could list them all, but check out the site for more. They are also part of more massive music festivals this year, like Lollapalooza, the Hurricane Festival in Germany, and Central Park Summer Stage this summer. No doubt the M83 juggernaut will just keep gaining momentum and surely they will be playing huge venues solo in the near future.
There was a ton of buzz regarding their latest album, "Hurry Up, We're Dreaming" last year when it was released, and became an instant favorite of critics and fans. "Hurry Up" is the first M83 album where they employ a saxophone and an acoustic guitar, and their first not be recorded in France. It was made in Los Angeles with Justin Meldal-Johnsen. Gonzalez said he was inspired to write this album from living in California for 18 months.
"Having spent 29 years of my life in France, I moved to California a year and a half before the making of this album, and I was excited and inspired by so many different things: by the landscape, by the way of life, by live shows, by movies, by the road trips I took alone. ... I was feeling alive again and this is, I feel, something that you can hear on the album," he said.
It was a major coup for the lucky audience at the Town Ballroom, which, by the way, is a fabulous place to see a concert. Even in its sold-out state, there was ample space to see and hear well, which is not always the case for general admission shows (as we all know).
I say - get to pollstar.com and buy your ticket to see M83 this summer ... somewhere ... anywhere. ... You will be thrilled and delighted - and you will thank me!