M83 and Anthony Gonzalez rolled into town to a sold out Bristol Trinity venue on Tuesday, January 17th, the first of their eight U.K. dates. The massed speakers either side of the stage cranked into action and throbbing bass pumped out causing gusts of sound that blew the audiences hair back as the sound travelled.
Entering the stage was some odd scary chap in an alien mask, but somewhat appearing like the grim reaper. That said, this incarnation was not a patch in causing the same level of fear mustered up by Jaz Coleman and front man of British punk grandfathers, Killing Joke.
Gonzalez announced it was the bands first time out of London for some time. The band started with a couple of tracks from earlier recordings, but it would be the tracks from last years album Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming (QRO review), that would bring the most enthusiastic crowd reactions. This was certainly evident with "Reunion" from the afore mentioned album, which saw people leaping along to the chorus as it galloped along at pace with a young multi-instrumentalist in Jordan Lawlor and Gonzalez leaving behind their keyboards and pick up their guitars.
Lots of dry ice and frenzy of pink and blue beams of light, with glittering stars for a backdrop, saw Lawlor this time take up the electronic drums for the next instrumental song – "Sitting" alongside keyboard player Morgan Kibby who cowered over her instrument.
Within the sold out crowd half the audience appeared to hail from the U.S.A., for a band who are having rising success both sides of The Atlantic. There were youths in jumpers pretending to be tripping with water bottles in hand to a backdrop of electro-rave rock as the songs raced along often sparse in lyrical content, but generally racing along under the percussion and powerful drumming of French musician Loïc Maurin hidden behind pillars of light.
"We Own The Sky" witnessed Kibby, former lead vocalist of The Romanovs, howling like a banshee into her mic as the track rose up like a huge wave, before unleashing one mad dance frenzy at its finale.
"First show back in Europe. Thanks for getting sweaty with us," proclaimed Gonzalez, before launching into the mellowest and probably only mellow song of the night – "Wait". One member of the audience who had been raving away amongst the strobes and multi coloured beams of light, now took to lighting his lighter and holding it in the air, until burning his fingers and then showing his disgust as someone else stole his idea.
Next relaxing ambient rainbow coloured neon poles met "This Bright Flash", which as the title of the song suggests, changed tempo with a bang of white blinding light as drummer Maurin beat seven bells out of his drum kit.
The was a little bit of chit chat before M83′s biggest song to date was released. "Midnight City" was met with the expected response as the room erupted. A ‘normal’ looking chap in an orange t-shirt suddenly turned into a loon, thoroughly embarrassing his girlfriend who gently swayed next to him whilst her nearest and dearest automatically created a four foot exclusion zone around him such was his convulsions (enthusiastic dancing). At its conclusion, our friend in the orange jumper climaxed and in the same movement gave a quick, ‘peck’ of a kiss to his girlfriend.
The stage filled with red intense lights and agonising ear splitting piercing keyboards that introduced another instrumental in "Guitar and a Heart", which reached an exhilarating end with Gonzalez and Lawlor leaping around with their guitars. And then they were gone.
M83 returned for a couple more tracks and ending with "Couleurs" from the 2008 album Saturdays = Youth (QRO review), before heading off with a brief "goodnight."
A great start to a U.K. tour, which will see the French band cover Australia, most of Europe before ending with a punishing jaunt across the U.S.