Show Date: April 26, 2012
I shouldn't have to tell any of you this, but if you missed M83's sold out performance at the Paramount Theater this past Thursday night, you missed one hell of a show.
Backed by lighting effects that at times looked a lot like giant multi-colored neon glow sticks, M83 started their performance the same way they did at their Neumos show this past November — with Hurry Up, We're Dreaming's opener "Intro" — and they never looked back. Half of the balcony where I was at was standing from the very start, and midway through the set, the lead single from HU,WD (and probably their most popular song to date) "Midnight City" got pretty much everyone who was still sitting down up on their feet and dancing. One of my minor qualms with their Neumos show last November was the lack of any saxaphone solo during Midnight City, since it's such an energetic, climactic moment in the song, and as cheesy at it sounds, I just wanted to hear that saxaphone kick in at the right time. This time around, they brought in a live sax player to belt out the solo, and people seemed pretty excited about it.
Considering that their Neumos show was just a little over five months ago, moving over to the Paramount Theater was a big step up for the band. Gonzalez seemed a little overjoyed and grateful to be playing a sold out show at such a massive venue. He even took a moment between songs to voice his amazement at it all saying "This is such a huge fucking venue for us, it's exciting!" Towards the end of the set, Gonzalez asked to have some of the lights brought up so he could take it all in, which he did briefly before emphatically collapsing to the floor, almost in disbelief.
While most M83 songs lend themselves well to dance parties and occasional fist pumping (yes, it did happen), when they slowed things down a bit with the HU,WD track "Wait", none of that energy was lost. Sure, the instruments may have gotten quieter, but the cries of the chorus "no t-i-i-i-me" reverberating off of all corners of the building made up for all that and more.
M83 closed the show with a couple tracks from their fantastic 2008 release Saturdays=Youth, and the encore started with another slow burner "Skin of the Night", with keyboardist and vocalist Morgan Kibby wowing the crowd with her vocal theatrics. They followed with the fun and bouncy HU,WD track "Year One, One UFO", before finishing with an extended version of the S=Y techno/instrumental track "Couleurs". Couleurs even brought the return of the saxaphone player, which prompted Gonzalez to bounce around the stage dancing with different members of the band.
Those who got there early enough got to see opener I Break Horses, a Swedish electronic band who set the tone nicely with their synth heavy, feedback laden melody laid over a rythmic tribal drum beat. Lead singer Maria Linden even sported a very dazzling long red cape. At times they sounded a bit like an electro version of Jesus and Mary Chain with female vocals, at others a bit like Phantogram without all the hip-hop beats.