17.07.2009, Words by Charlie Jones

M83's live show expressed in percentages.

M83 sounds like a galaxy, he sounds like designer drugs. At Koko last week, he played a neat set, beginning with ambient noise, after which he was joined by the rest of his band. He played

  1. Graveyard Girl
  2. Teen Angst
  3. We Own the Sky
  4. Kim & Jessie
  5. Sitting
  6. Skin Of The Night
  7. Don’t Save Us From The Flames
  8. A Guitar And A Heart
  9. Couleurs

It was a really good show, mostly because Anthony Gonzalez seemed so very in love with his music, performing and exhibited none of that most wonderful of musical – a tasteless, indecent adoration of musical history. As a series of percentages, it can be expressed thus:

29 % John Williams
The links between synths and film music have been duly noted, both here and in every piece that mentions Assault On Precinct 13 or Halloween when talking about nu-disco. However, for M83, it’s the swooping,operatics of John Williams, not the minimal atmospherics of John Carpenter that inform his performance. When Graveyard Girl crashes through, with it’s ridiculous, tinny guitar line, half-way between New Order and the Indiana Jones theme, is the first Oh crikey… moment of the set.

11% REM
The ease with which Anthony Gonzalez combines avant garde and POP reminds one of the career-turning gigs of REM. As I was leaving, I overheard someone say “Yeah mate, that was way better than Kasabian.” Which was absurd, brilliant and profoundly correct.

4% Bruce Springsteen
Though M83’s set was stripped of self-indulgent, trudging rock and painfully over-rehearsed banter, I’ve not seen anyone love playing a guitar to a crowd of people since the Boss. But I did see Springsteen a month ago.

16% Jean Michel Jarre
Though the lightshow (disappointingly) failed to reach the Houston skyline or the Place de la Concorde, the links between M83 and that other French ambient popstar extend deeper, to a fundamental ambitiousness, a continent-spanning reach. While incredibly comfortable in the plush, mid-sized surrounding of Koko, his music sounded bigger, cathedral, space-station sized.

40% Paul van Dyk
From Sitting onwards, with its europhic, repeated “Let’s Go”, the set was, to all intents and purposes, a trance gig. And I’m not describing that trendy trance horseshit. This was a mercifully fist-pumping, histronic, celebratory gig. So, cheers, M83!

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