It has seriously taken me the better part of twenty-four hours to come into a place in my head where I can even approach verbalizing what I witnessed at Hollywood’s Music Box Wednesday night. I had high expectations from Anthony Gonzalez and his band and all I can say is they did not let me down in the slightest. In fact the show was probably the best…
Wait, let’s not go down that rote hyperbolic path. Let me start again.
I have been to hundreds of shows in my life, some big blockbusters (usually my least favorite and a complete chore to attend), some tiny, tiny venues with no-name or little known groups, some the kind of mid-level clubs and acts that seem to be the bread and butter of most of the folks I know who are seriously into music. If you’ve ever been to Chicago’s Aragon, Riviera or Metro theatres, or LA’s Music Box, Troubadour or El Rey then you know the kinds of shows I’m talking about.
They’re my favorites.
Anyway, I’ve had so many wonderful live music experiences, but m83… it was unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. The only thing that comes close was The Flaming Lips back in… ah, 2003? (Yoshimi tour – my wife and my’s 2nd date) where the joyous events on stage literally made me feel glad to be alive and a human*. So that was a close second but what happened to my central nervous system and, consequently, my mind the moment the opening note of ‘Intro’ fromM83’s new double album Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming began was epic and joyous. Life-affirming. Hallucinogenic, and downright ecstasy-inducing and I’m still running off the high of feeling wave after wave of deep, soothing synth, soaring keyboards and damn near shamanic vocals course through my body, setting off my dopamine receptors and flooding me from head to toe with endorphines.
Yeah, it was that good.
Enough of the indescribable for now**. Let me just say that M83 played through most of the new album and a pretty damn good chunk of 2008’s Saturdays=Youth as well, changing some tunes a bit, mixing it up and adding extended, almost old school trance-like jams waxing into or waning out of some songs.
In short, as repeated listenings to the band’s aforementioned new album Hurry Up have led me to believe, M83’s music has evolved to a point that, for this now die-hard and maybe a little obsessed fan, it effects my body the same way drugs do.
It’s par for the course that in the studio-savvy of the day we live in, a lot of if not most electronically-rooted bands always sound better on their records because they embrace the studio aesthetic, and well they should. There is nothing wrong with best, most lush album the techonology at your disposal allows you to. It doesn’t make me want to run out and see a lot of electro acts, but I’m always willing to give any of the ones I dig a shot. Again though, it makes sense that, nine times out of ten, a lot of those records will not be as good live.
Not the case with M83.
After seeing them I can firmly attest to the fact that as fabulous as Anthony Gonzalez and crew fashion their records, they do not even COME CLOSE to capturing the massive, deep and gorgeously rich sound that occurs when they play live. And couple this with a simple yet elegantly shoe-gazey attention to lighting*** the effect is just psychedelic beyond all belief and a hot poker right into the emotional cortex of the human brain.
Here’s that Intro, complete with Zola Jesus joining them on stage:
* Which is nice, because of course there are plenty of reasons to be embarrassed about being a human being. Just look at brett ratner or rush limbaugh
** I’m actually writing an article for an online magazine about the way some music effects us in such amazing ways, utilizing M83 as my primary example
*** Not a light show. That’s what U2 or metallica do in stadiums, with all kinds of trite (but sometimes effective) lasers and lights flying all over the place.