May 8, 2012
After releasing the phenomenal double-album Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming last year, M83 were high on my bands-to-see list and their tour with recent faves of mine I Break Horses made this show an absolute must. To things even more enticing, the bands were playing The Pageant in St. Louis, a beautiful venue which is quickly becoming one of my favorite places to see a show. I missed the beginning of I Break Horses’ set, but fortunately was able to see them play three of my favorite songs from their album, “Hearts” “Winter Beats” and “I Kill Your Love, Baby”. Their soaring synths and angelic vocals was the perfect preface to M83 and from the crowd response it was obvious that they were completely captivated.
M83 opened the show with a brief appearance from the fly monster that has graced their most recent LP / single cover art, before the band took the stage fittingly, with “Intro” (keyboardist/vocalist Morgan Kibby taking over for Zola Jesus’ verses). The band’s majestic synths and thunderous drums provide an immense, all-encompassing sound and it was accompanied by an incredible neon light show that was just as cinematic and awe-inspiring. I actually had to look away from the stage a few times throughout the night so my eyes wouldn’t burn out. The band transitioned into the driving “Teen Angst” from 2005’s Before The Dawn Heals Us and was followed by a euphoric performance of “Graveyard Girl”, one of my personal favorites from the band.
The band continued, focusing on tracks from Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming with magnificent renditions of “Reunion” “Wait” and “Steve McQueen” following, with an assortment of older tracks mixed in. Two tracks I hoped for “Don’t Save Us From The Flames” and “Kim & Jessie” were skipped over, but performances of “We Own The Sky” and “A Guitar and a Heart” more than made up for it. Out of the band members, front man Anthony Gonzalez was the most subdued, completely focused on the task at hand. Morgan Kibby, on the other hand was completely charismatic and enchanting to watch while the most engaging with the crowd was player Jordan Lawlor who amazingly joined the band after a video audition.
The band played their huge hit “Midnight City” as the penultimate track of the first set, and it was great to see the crowd completely go wild when that familiar synth hit. A saxophonist came out to do the solo during the song, which was a huge surprise and totally awesome to watch. The band’s encore consisted of two Saturday=Youth tracks, “Skin of the Night”, a showcase for Morgan Kibby’s powerful vocals and an extended dance-crazy version of “Couleurs”. If the crowd weren’t in a frenzy before, they were once those hypnotizing disco beats and flashing strobe lights hit during the finale. It was like the most intense (and yes, epic) 80’s dance-club party you can imagine. And as the music faded and I began to regain their vision and hearing, the band did a bow and thanked the crowd before leaving the stage.
Follow the jump for many more M83 / I Break Horses photos. Click here for the full set.
I Break Horses