M83 Live Review
Somerset House, London - 16/07/12
Critical acclaim is something Antony Gonzalez has become accustomed to.
Commercial success though is still something of a new sensation for the M83 main man.
The fact his brand of bombastic, ethereal synth-rock could attract an audience large enough to fill the cobbled quad of Somerset House on an ominously wet Monday evening must be a little surprising.
But after the breakthrough success of last year’s breathtaking double LP Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming such a magnificent setting is the only place to perform a record of such magnificence.
As soon as a mysterious space nymph glided off stage after shooting lazers into the crowd the scene was set for Gonzalez and his band to bring some electronic majesty to Central London.
When describing M83’s live show epic is an often used adjective, and rightly so.
Reunion and Steve McQueen from the aforementioned Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming had the appreciative audience raising their cagoule covered arms towards the wet heavens. But it was the older classics such as We Own The Sky and the near anthemic Teen Angst which really got the weather aware crowd moving – well the sections of crowd who have been following M83’s electronic ascension from the relative safety of the leftfield for some years.
Fans old and new were unified in delight when blockbusting power ballad Midnight City roared from the speakers complete with the best saxophone solo for years. Its sound was huge and threatened to rouse the rain clouds above.
The evening’s set wasn’t totally dominated by soaring synths and crashing drum pads. Some restrained Vangelis inspired key work on My Tears Becoming A Sea demonstrated the grandiose soundscapes Gonzalez is so brilliant at producing as well as the nostalgic melancholy on Skin Of The Night from 2008’s ode to 80s movies Saturdays = Youth LP.
The dark clouds above the striking architecture of Somerset House were starting to grow larger, but the only thunder to be heard was from the stage as the band crashed through a thunderous version of Couleurs.
The audience was enrapt and as the band left the stage there was something in the air, not rain but nostalgia for summers that were once sunny and dry - but an M83 show really helps to lift your spirits under this Atlantic depression.