Sunday April 22nd saw M83 kicking off a two night, sold-out-early, run at The Fillmore in San Francisco. With tickets selling for up to three times face value, this was amongst the most eagerly anticipated of the Coachella blow-ins. The show kicked off with a short set from I Break Horses. “Goodbye Sweet Dreams” was notably good, but it often felt like the vocals were completely drowned out.
M83 opened the show with a brief welcome from the monster that appears on the Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming album cover. The polished hour and fifteen minute set was surprisingly not dominated by material from their already mentioned breakout 2011 album, and that is no criticism. M83 had no trouble saturating the Fillmore with their epic stage show driven by the biggest and best drum section I’ve ever heard and synths that make the entire 1980s seem like a warm up. Then there was the female lead singer, Morgan Kibby, alluring, charismatic, a true tour de force who stands out amongst an already talent-loaded group. Band founder Anthony Gonzalez delivered vocals true to the studio recordings and his interactions with the audience were genuine and moving, conveying the elation felt by the group with their new found popularity.
The set featured a blend of M83’s more mainstream songs with huge drums, emotive synths and echoing choruses (think “Reunion,” “Steve Mc Queen” & “Midnight City”) mixed with more chill and dreamy recordings (“Wait,” and “This Bright Flash”). “Steve Mc Queen” was a stand-out moment, the highs of the original recording filling the venue just like I had hoped. “Midnight City,” the song that first attracted hipsters and yuppies alike to M83, ignited the audience into a frenzy that was only enhanced by an awesome saxophone solo. One low point for me was the Daft Punk cover “Fall,” which just didn’t work alongside the euphoria of M83s chosen songs.
The first encore song, “Skin of The Night” was, for me, the highlight. Ms. Kibby led a Kate Bush-esque piano ballad that stunned and surprised, or as one friend suggested “She’s making love to the audience.” It was that good. Leaving the Fillmore I was formulating a to-do list…explore more of M83’s music, get a saxophone and somehow convince Ms. Kibby to become the future Mrs. O’Donnell!
-Written by Adam O’Donnell and photograph by Jessica Choi
Download Mp3 – M83: “Skin of The Night”