Friday 9 November 2012

M83 @ Brixton Academy

If you look up the word “euphoria” in the dictionary, the definition will simply read “M83”.  Probably.  Their 80s electro and shoegaze inspired sound - awash with droning spacey synths, live drum beats and mesmeric vocals – inspires a certain kind of elated euphoria, the sort to have the audience’s kneels trembling, palms to the sky and hearts raised to the heavens.

Brixton Academy was the last leg in the band’s current tour of Europe for their third album ‘Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming’.  Since the release of single Midnight City, the French band (led by Anthony Gonzalez) have seen a meteoric rise in popularity and that song in particular had the audience’s hands in the air quicker than you can say Made In Chelsea.  Introduced by an odd creature spouting lasers from its fingertips (no, really), the set list comprised a ‘best of’ from their last two albums, ‘Hurry Up…’ and ‘Saturdays=Youth’, including the likes of Reunion, Raconte-Moi Une Histoire (“I heard about this frog…”), We Own The Sky and a huge encore of Couleurs.  Each track was extended and remixed for an original take on their hits, with live drums, guitars and keyboards smacked and plucked with dynamic energy.  The slower, more hypnotic tracks were less well received in a live environment, but were ultimately counteracted by the sheer overwhelming power of the overall performance.  The only real gripe was that the gig whizzed by far too quickly and with a considerable back catalogue from their three albums (‘Hurry Up…’ alone has 22 tracks), some tracks were unfortunately neglected.

The support act came in the form of Man Without Country – three figures performing in smoky silhouettes, flashes of light colouring the stage like lightning.  They proved to be a worthy support to M83: all pulsing, thunderous drum patterns, throbbing, bubbling basslines and wailing Pet Shop Boys-esque vocals that washed over the crowd.  Their debut album ‘Foe’ is available now and well worth checking out.

M83’s widescreen electro was made to be heard on an epic sound system.  Filling the cavernous Brixton Academy, their (still awesome) recordings pale in comparison to their live show.  And the music was accompanied by a spectacular light and laser show: the backdrop lit like a solar system, the music our transportation, the flashing beams and kaleidoscopic colours opening the roof and guiding us upwards.  Euphoria doesn’t begin to cover it.