Emerging from the darkness, a hairy creature with a short, pinkish elephant trunk and a black gown stepped out to the middle of the stage, raising its arms as in a ritual, before it started pointing at the crowd and shooting blue laser beams from its fingers.
It was the same character on the cover of M83’s hit single, “Midnight City”, which nabbed number one on Pitchfork’s Top 100 Tracks of 2011 list.
The greetings kept coming. After the departure of the beast, the galactic band played “Intro”, the track that opens the French electronic band’s sixth and latest studio album, Hurry Up We’re Dreaming, an ambitious double album “mainly about dreams” that sold more than 60,000 copies in the U.S. and which vocalist Anthony Gonzalez crafted as he fantasized about his teenage years while feeling lonely in L.A. The record was produced by Justin Meldal-Johnsen (known for his work with Nine Inch Nails, Air, Beck) and released under Mute label.
While Gonzalez has confessed his shyness, it is apparent that he now feels comfortable on stage. Touring with bands like The Killers in the U.S. and Depeche Mode in Europe, and playing at festivals such as The Fuji Rock in Japan and Coachella in California, has given him the confidence necessary to occasionally play the guitar kneeling down and with his eyes closed to a full venue. His blissful expressions are perfectly matched by the astounding voice of Morgan Kibby, the touring keyboardist of the band, and the passionate and powerful sound of his brother Yaan on guitar and bass and of drummer Loic Maurin.
M83’s first set Wednesday at the Fillmore Miami Beach comprised ten songs, including “Sitting”, from the band’s debut, self-titled album, “We Own the Sky” from its fifth studio album, Saturdays=Youth, “Fall” from their third record, Before the Dawn Heals Us, and “Reunion” and “This Bright Flash” from Hurry Up.
Their second set was like an entire second concert: they took us from the slow drama of “My Tears are Becoming a Sea” all the way to the upbeat synths of “Couleurs” and a hyped-up version of Yaan playing on the drum pad, all this complemented by lights dancing in different directions, changing colors, and penetrating our bodies.
By the end of the night, we knew that Gonzalez’s happy adolescence — or at least his memory of it — didn’t stunt his promising talent. It gave him sweet memories that now inspire him to bring other galaxies closer to us.