Tuesday, 24 January 2012

F--K Yeah Birmingham!: M83 Live Review

Hurry Up, We're Dreaming, a record which I gave a dazzling review to last year, seems to have been something of a turning point for M83, for tonight the HMV Institute in Digbeth is packed to the rafters. This is no mean feat for a band who, until recently, were critical darlings but largely ignored by the general public. That the band has managed to garner such popularity off the back of a double album tied together by the concept of dreaming is even more of a ruse. That TV show theme probably helped.

The band arrive early, briefly preceded by this freaky bastard, who over the course of a minute or so, lifts his hands from his sides until they are far above his head. They begin, rather aptly, with Intro from their latest record, Zola Jesus's part performed ably by constant member Morgan Kibby, who tonight bounds keenly around the stage in a glittering blue dress.

It's unfortunate that a large contingent of the standing audience don't yet share her enthusiasm, as many of them seem content to stand rooted to the spot, static with their arms folded. The bands exuberance quickly rubs off, however, and by a third of the way through the set, largely drawn from the band's most recent two records, most of the assembly is pogoing around with reckless abandon, singing every word they know back to frontman Anthony Gonzalez.

Gonzalez is clad initially in a plaid shirt, but by the time Midnight City arrives he's removed it and the singlet beneath reveals that he's been working out recently. The guy is absolutely ripped. It's at this point that he climbs the barrier and pauses for a moment before hurling himself into the adoring crowd. Everyone is now hooked, and this eggs the band on, clearly thrilled at the adoration that they are receiving.

Later in the set and during the encore, there's palpable sexual tension between Gonzalez and Kibby; he wields his guitar at her as she stands behind her keyboard, she responds by grinding up against him moments later. This is clearly the sight of a band letting their hair down, visibly joyful, and is confirmed by a post from the M83 Facebook page later in the evening. The encore ends with the pounding Couleurs, the audience clearly satisfied, but still clamouring for more. Fuck yeah Birmingham.