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Live Review: M83 with Yacht at the Rialto Theater, Tucson, AZ – Tuesday 12th April 2016

 
By on Wednesday, 20th April 2016 at 2:00 pm
 

If you’re even a casual reader of TGTF, you’ll probably know by now that electronic music isn’t my particular cup of tea, though it is typically much more to editor Mary’s liking. She was quite disappointed to discover that electropop acts M83 and YACHT wouldn’t be passing through Washington, D.C. on their current tour, especially after seeing YACHT in Austin during SXSW 2016. But she did note that the Los Angeles-based bands were scheduled to play at the Rialto Theater in downtown Tucson, which is where I came into the equation.

I arrived at the venue early and was able to obtain my ticket and photo pass very easily thanks to the staff at the Rialto, so I took a spot in the crowd near the barrier and chatted a bit with some fellow punters. I was surprised to learn that many of the fans near the barrier were primarily there to see opening act YACHT, who they claimed were worthy of headline status themselves. They weren’t entirely wrong in that claim. YACHT’s Renaissance frontwoman, Claire L. Evans, who writes editorials and edits science fiction for VICE’s Motherboard channel when she’s not busy performing, was fierce and forceful from the moment she stepped onto the stage, even before she opened her mouth to sing. Throughout the set, she moved like a prowling panther on the stage, restrained by its dimensions but also using its levels and lighting to her advantage in striking a series of dramatic poses at appropriate points in the music.

Yacht internal 3

Evans’ colleagues Jona Bechtolt and Rob Kieswetter mixed energetic dance beats and intoxicating grooves under her half-sung/half-spoken vocals. To paraphrase Evans’ own description, the band juxtaposed songs about present day American society with songs about a more intimate social issue, namely sex, the latter of which inspired whistles and cheers from their audience. Most of the set list came from their current album ‘I Thought the Future Would Be Cooler’, but final track ‘Psychic City’ was apparently an older fan favourite, judging by the outbreak of ecstatic dancing at the front of the stage. On the brilliant recommendation of a fellow audience member, I took the opportunity to add the song to my own run playlist as soon as YACHT made their way off the stage.

[youtube]https://youtu.be/MI6xNf4tMcs[/youtube]

As spectacular as YACHT were, the production quality of the show ramped up exponentially for headline act M83. Even watching the stage crew work between the sets was rather amazing, as they rigged an amazing interplay of lights and sound equipment, the likes of which I rarely see in covering my usual singer/songwriter type gigs. Though the music seemed to drag a bit in places, the production quality was dazzling from beginning to end, and I could see that frontman Anthony Gonzalez must have intended this as part of his overall Gesamtkunstwerk, though it seems funny to use that Wagnerian operatic reference in a review of modern electronic music.

AG internal

M83 opened with ‘Reunion’, a familiar track from their 2011 breakout album ‘Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming’, before diving headlong into ‘Do It, Try It’, from their newly released album ‘Junk’. I was rather proud of myself for recognising both songs without prompting, but from that point I was a bit lost, as Gonzalez chose to play more older material than I would have expected. Keyboardist Kaila Sinclair, who is new to the M83 lineup, had ample opportunity to showcase her silky vocals on both the older tracks and the more recent releases, and Gonzalez handed the lead off to female vocalist Mai Lan on new album tracks ‘Laser Gun’ and ‘Go!’, the latter of which had a rather unexpectedly ’80s dance pop vibe. Naturally, Gonzalez held back the band’s massive radio hit ‘Midnight City’ until late in the set proper; though it prompted an outburst of manic energy from the crowd, the audience’s attention appeared to wander once they’d heard it and the jubilant mood dissipated quickly thereafter.

M83 internal 2

I thought the headline set seemed rather short when Gonzalez and his crew signed off, but it turned out that they had a extended 5-song encore planned, including a lengthy version of the groovy new track ‘Walkaway Blues’, which featured vocals by guitarist Jordan Lawlor. Many of the casual punters in the back of the theater took this opportunity to slip out (it was a Tuesday night, after all!), but the diehard M83 fans stayed to the very end, and they were graciously rewarded with spectacular performances of old favourites ‘Couleurs’ and ‘Lower Your Eyelids to Die With the Sun’.

M83 and YACHT will be on tour in North America through the end of April. M83 have a busy spring and summer schedule planned, with appearances at Coachella and Glastonbury on the docket. You can find YACHT’s upcoming live dates here and M83’s long list of live dates right here.

TGTF’s previous coverage of YACHT, including their recent appearance at SXSW 2016, is back this way. Our coverage of M83 is collected in one convenient spot right back here.

 

Video of the Moment #1061: M83

 
By on Saturday, 8th December 2012 at 10:00 am
 

M83‘s newest video is for ‘Wait’. It’s the final one of a trio following ‘Midnight City’ and ‘Reunion’ in a visual series. Watch the finale below.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lAwYodrBr2Q[/youtube]

 

Video of the Moment #1016: M83

 
By on Friday, 26th October 2012 at 6:00 pm
 

M83‘s new video for ‘Steve McQueen’ was created in conjunction with creative film-making community, Genero TV. The winning directors were Balthazar Auxietre & Sylvain Derosne from France. I’ll let Auxietre talk about the video further:

Even before making this video we were inspired by the music of M83 and all his body of work. He has created a sound of his own, made with a kind of “epic fragility”, something very visual, very atmospheric, which can bring powerful images and energy as a filmmaker. Unconsciously, we always associated his music to the power of childhood, an eagerness for life, and the kind of paradoxical energy you have when you grow up.

We wanted to make something of pure visual and musical entertainment, which shows the kind of power you have when you’re a child and you think you’re invincible. We’ve always thought that an “80’s epic touch” could be a good equivalent to this feeling (which also explains the Yellow suit which was inevitable for us). So when we saw the project on Genero.tv for M83 we felt that it was the right time to create something that fitted our vision and ‘Steve McQueen’ was the perfect soundtrack!

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a8Iqskd_Vq8[/youtube]

 

MP3 of the Day #583: Saint Saviour

 
By on Tuesday, 17th July 2012 at 10:00 am
 

The one-woman phenomenon known as Saint Saviour will be releasing her album ‘Union’ here in the States on the 24th of July. RCRD LBL is offering up her cover of M83‘s ‘Midnight City’ to whet listeners’ appetites. Listen to and download the cover below.

 

Video of the Moment #814: M83

 
By on Saturday, 2nd June 2012 at 10:00 am
 

Here’s the new video for M83‘s ‘Reunion’, off of last year’s highly acclaimed ‘Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming’ album. While I’m not a huge fan of the song (I think it’s rather boring compared to ‘Midnight City’), I have to say Anthony Gonzalez has taken quite a lot of time to make an inventive video. Watch it below.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DJQQrjVmQG0[/youtube]

 

Live Review: M83 with Man Without Country at London Heaven – 1st December 2011

 
By on Thursday, 8th December 2011 at 2:00 pm
 

‘Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming’ has been out for a while now (read my review here). It’s a magical journey through time and space, almost, and now Anthony Gonzalez is on tour with it and tonight M83 land in London.

Before the dream-drenched sounds of M83 though come Man Without Country, another Mute signing. A constantly evolving and intense live act, today they bring their mix of dub influences and soaring synths with huge amounts of energy to Heaven. You can almost hear the influence of M83 on tonight’s support and the duo on stage really revel in the opportunity to be in front of such a big crowd. They’re given a warm send off and it’s likely that many will go home and listen to them some more. A definite band to watch in 2012.

Half an hour later and the party atmosphere’s starting to wear thin. The show’s running later than advertised and the drinks are expensive. You have to question how many you’ve had though when a fictional character appears on stage. Wookie meets gremlin as the creature slumps onto the stage and slowly beckons us into the world of M83. Opening aptly with ‘Intro’, you can tell that the fremch dream-poppers have put effort into making themselves sound as tight as possible live. They keep to record and add even more as nearly 2000 heads and knees bob in time to the wall of sound created.

Playing exclusively from their latest and most recognisable three records, Gonzalez and co. tear through a host of tracks, confident enough in their music to put huge tracks from ‘Saturdays=Youth’, ‘Kim&Jessie ‘and’ We Own the Sky ‘in the middle of the set, as well as the hugely bold ‘Steve McQueen’ which, like a few others tonight, has been given live gleam. At times, you wonder if you’ve stepped into one of Heaven’s famous club nights as the dance vibe to Claudia Lewis extends over 7 minutes of pure dance. It’s the same kind of party that Friendly Fires bring, but with less Caribbean and more Paris.

‘Midnight City’ is undoubtedly the highlight of the night though. Undoubtedly the alternative anthem of the year, everyone present, including the band have smiles on their faces as it kicks in and following it with ‘A Guitar and a Heart’, the main set closes with an extended party. Of course there’s an encore and that just brings a euphoria of reserved dance. That’s the only issue tonight, everyone’s too polite. There’s not as much dancing as you might expect, especially as the vibe is so loose and happy.  Regardless, everyone’s in they’re in their own little world as the atmosphere M83 create is enough to put everyone on a high for the rest of the week. Gig of the week? Maybe of the year.

 
 
 

About Us

There Goes The Fear is where we tell you about the latest music, gigs, and tours we love and think you should too.

We love music that has its heart on its sleeve, tells a story, swims around our head all day or makes us dance like no-one's watching.

TGTF was edited by Mary Chang, based in Washington, DC.

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