M83 Show Review
St. Louis, MO: The Pageant
May 2, 2012
Much like Todd’s experience at Coachella, it is always difficult to extricate my personal experience from how good the actual show was, and review it appropriately. Throw in a few drinks and some good friends, and any situation can be an absolute pleasure. But a show review is not about how much fun I had, instead it has to be about how well the band performed, and I regret to say that M83 was supremely disappointing in some aspects and mildly disappointing in other aspects.
Here is the biggest disappointment, and a travesty in my opinion: M83 only played for roughly 75 minutes. Anthony Gonzalez, who himself is M83, has released something like five studio albums in the past ten years. M83’s 2011 breakthrough success, Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming itself was a double LP. Are you telling me that Gonzalez couldn’t mine more than 14 songs and a cover (Daft Punk’s “Fall”) out of his catalogue and play for something more like two hours? I have never been to a concert at The Pageant that ended before 10:30, and frankly, I feel kind of ripped off. I guess I didn’t realize that I was going to the early bird special of concerts.
Also disappointing was that M83 was just okay performance-wise. The attention to detail shown on Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming did not fully translate to M83’s live show. The guitarists, drummer, and keyboardist brought on to translate M83’s studio sound to a live performance were all talented enough I suppose. The execution was just sorely lacking, resulting in several instances where the entire sound just kind of fell apart. I don’t know whether it is a lack of practice, or that M83’s sound is just impossible to replicate live, but they did not perform up to my expectations. On a related note, one of my biggest pet peeves is when a vocalist doesn’t know how to sing into a microphone, and neither Gonzalez or the female vocalist that also played keyboards were singing into their microphones very well. Lapses like this can ruin the entire tone of a song.
My final complaint is that the entire sound of the band seemed a little cheaper than the sound on record. It was a little more in the tone of your standard EDM at some points, rather than a sound that is electronic but also epic in scope. I rarely encourage a band to be more serious, but M83 could really use a little more practice tightening up their entire experience.
While all of the above may sound pretty harsh, the show was not without highlights. The light show, with these awesome free-standing light fixtures was incredible, and added to the experience greatly. In addition, “Midnight City” (LxL’s #1 song of 2011) and “Wait” (my personal #1 song of 2011) were extremely well done and I think kind of prove M83’s live potential if they can just gain a little more focus.
If you want to check out the complete 15-song setlist, click here.
Can’t Miss: “Midnight City”, “Wait”, “Fall” (Daft Punk cover),
Can’t Hit: “Intro” (still good, but lacking without Zola Jesus), “Skin of the Night”