M83 @ House of Blues Boston 5.09.12

by Dinorah Wilson (Journalism), published May 16th 2012

Apparently, Messier 83 has bass for days.

M83 greeted a packed house with a barrage of neon beams, analogue synths, costumed cape-wearing wolves and ear-deafening bass during their performance at Boston’s House of Blues on May 9.

Swedish band, I Break Horses, opened for M83 and performed in the same vein as the headlining group: breathy vocals from Maria Lindén and Fredrik Balck accompanied pounding bass lines supplied by their impeccably dressed Swedish band mates. For the exception of a few stoned, mildly-confused faces in the audience, the band was received fairly well.

After I Break Horses’ brief performance, crowds were kept in darkness for nearly an hour due to slow stage set-up (on part of the venue) for M83. However, the wait wasn’t in vain; fans were rewarded with a blast of bass, flashing neon lights, and Morgan Kibby – in a wolf’s head and cape – with his arms outstretched in welcome to a screaming audience.

Sound wise, aside from a few perfectly-timed saxophone improv solos, there wasn’t too much divergence from what’s normally heard on the band’s albums. Highlights of the show included performances of “Steve McQueen,” “We Own The Sky” and of course the band’s well-known single, “Midnight City,” as well as a lengthy encore during which the humble frontman Anthony Gonzalez blew kisses of gratitude to the audience.

M83 did an impressive job of retaining the same sonic quality heard on their recordings during the live show. While many musicians and DJs bury themselves in their equipment during dance shows, neglecting their audience in favor of recreating the polished sound of their recordings, M83’s main focus was split between each other and their audience –who undoubtedly seemed to enjoy Jordan Lawlor’s exaggerated jittery onstage antics.

Honestly, at a time when there are a sea of bands performing dance music hardly distinguishable from each other, M83 is a pretty decent deviation from the norm.

By incorporating elements of shoegaze and slight tinges of post-punk into their set, the band created a familiar atmosphere that drew dance music fans and those who would usually shy away from similar acts alike to their show.

If bass, capes, synths, neon lights, and Lawlor’s near-epileptic spasms seem like a nice combination, you’ll definitely get your money’s worth from this band.

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