M83 at the Middle East Downstairs

So M83 was downstairs at the Middle East last Tuesday, November 18. Missed the opening group School of Seven Bells, but still managed to get a decent view of M83. Eventually, that is, because the floor was packed. This guy in front of me was really invading my personal space, but by the middle of the set enough people had shuffled around that I could actually see something other than the back of his fat head. Ha.

Not that there was much to see, because this was definitely one of the most dimly-lit shows I’ve been to. Which was kind of an interesting concept, but also made the show rather more monotonous than it needed to be, particularly since the setlist favored their older album (from 2005), Before the Dawn Heals Us, instead of their newer one, Saturdays=Youth. The latter was noted for being more accessible, with more vocals, more hooks, and just generally catchier songs instead of instrumental mood pieces. Even though I could happily listen to pretty much any and all synth music, the songs on the older album just weren’t interesting enough to keep me enthralled. The crowd didn’t seem to mind at all, though, and clapped along whenever they detected a faster beat. Main man Anthony Gonzalez had a tendency to look like he was humping his keyboard during these faster tunes which was somewhat distracting, and I still haven’t heard for sure why they keep the drummer behind a Plexiglas wall. Still, all in all the show was enjoyable, helped in part because of the saving grace of Morgan Kibby, who, reprising her role on Saturdays=Youth, contributed her light, catchy vocals to the proceedings (as well as playing keyboards). Oh, and a special mention must be made of the encore, “Couleurs”, which received a rockin’ arrangement and was a great closer. And fret not, my fellow Cantabridgians: if you missed them this time around apparently as soon as the group winds up this tour they’re going to be touring with the Killers and back in Boston at ye olde Agganis Arena January 26.

The most accurate setlist I’ve been able to find so far has been
for the show in Atlanta just a few days before the one in Cambridge (I thought they’d also played “You appearing” but I could be wrong):

1. Run Into Flowers
2. *
3. Moon Child
4. Kim & Jessie
5. We Own the Sky
6. Graveyard Girl
7. Gone
8. Teen Angst
9. Highway of Endless Dreams
10. Don’t Save Us From the Flames
11. Skin of the Night
12. Guitar and a Heart
13. Couleurs (encore)

Some pics from this tour are floating around:
– A few pics and a short review of the Boston show at mel.opho.be
Nice set of pics from the NY show at BrooklynVegan
Random Flickr set from the Atlanta show

There’s also a cool set of videos of studio performances from May with the same touring band at KCRW on YouTube. And here’s an enthusiastic review of the Boston show at the Boston Herald.

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