An M83 Resurrection

November 23rd, 2011

M83 – Webster Hall – November 22, 2011

Early yesterday I watched the John Hughes movie The Breakfast Club. And of its distinctive elements, what grabbed me most was the music. Stylized and dated, it can now function only as nostalgia inducing. It would seem schmaltzy synth ballads no longer have a place in popular music. But the genius of M83 is its resurrection and retooling of that discarded period. Anthony Gonzalez, the man behind M83, finds a way to deepen and stretch the sound so much so that it sheds the ’80s and moves into the category of modern shoegaze—heavily affected and loud as fuck.

Last night at Webster Hall, Gonzalez, along with three additional musicians, created M83. I say create because on six studio albums—mostly recently Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming—the band is essentially a one-man job. But live, with a bassist, drummer and keys player, M83 is as expansive if not more so than its recorded material. From opener “Intro” to such songs off the previous album, Saturdays=Youth, like “We Own the Sky” and “Skin of the Night,” Webster Hall’s PA worked overtime to soak the room in sound. The ambition was audible. —Jared Levy

Photos courtesy of Charles Steinberg

(Tonight’s M83 show at Music Hall of Williamsburg is sold out.)