[Concerts] (11.13.08, 2:37 pm)

This past Tuesday, Audrey and I went over to East Atlanta, to the Earl for a nice indie music concert. We knew we were in for something, but really weren’t quite prepared for it. The actual concert started at 9:30 and the doors opened at 9:00. Audrey unfortunately had a class that normally gets out at 8. That’s right, 8 PM. We graduate students just live it up, don’t we? Fortunately, she managed to get out a bit early, and we scooted over there and tried to find dinner.

Fortunately, and we noticed this once we started wandering around, the Earl is also a restaurant. They had a wide variety of menu items that seemed to cater very precisely to the our demographic: the pretentious indie music crowd. I mean this endearingly! I had a guacamole burger, which was outstanding. It was just very amusing. We sat next to a couple of guys who were going to do some photography and conduct an interview with M83 frontman Anthony Gonzalez.

The show itself opened with School of Seven Bells, which I had heard about a few days ago. Their music is sort of an ethereal and spacey, with an unusual strong sense of rhythm. Their music has a somewhat otherworldly quality to it, sounding like a soundtrack that scores a journey to some lush but remote and isolated destination. I heard about them a week before the concert, and then found out that they were opening for M83, which was a pretty nice coincidence. There are three members to the band. The vocalists are sisters and occupy guitar and keyboard. There is also another guitarist who spent a lot of time rocking out. The singers layered together creating a nice resonance, that created not just music, but really something more like a textured soundscape.

When School of Seven Bells finished, they dismantled their set, and the stage crew began setting up for M83. They brought up a large quantity of fascinating and delightful looking electronic equipment. The setup took quite a while, but eventually the band itself came on stage.

M83 opened with an extended version of Run Into Flowers. The case with this, and with all of the rest of the tracks they played, was that the original song was not a script so much as a guideline. No song really was close at all to the album versions. Because M83 exists in a complex hybrid between pure electronic music and Explosions In The Sky-style instrumental music, the actual set combined elements of performance of electronic music with more traditional stage performance. Guitars were layered on top of each other to create a texture, and the actual electronic elements, coming from keyboards as well as Gonzales’ laptop, came together to sound like they were being mixed live before us.

Each song was layered with a great deal of complexity. The guitars were primarily responsible for creating a sense of texture, and came together with such resonance that they faded into the background. On top of those, the keyboards and vocals gave shape to the auditory space. On more than one occasion, when the leading instruments stopped or subsided, it sounded like silence, until we gradually realized that the music was still there, that it had never left us. When the instruments picked up again, they had the feeling not of individual instruments constructing a whole, but of waves that washed over us.

The band consisted of Anthony Gonzalez, the mastermind behind M83, who alternated between keyboard and guitar. There was also another guitarist and a drummer, who hammered away behind his drum cage. However, there was also another keyboardist, Morgan Kibby, who contributed to vocals as well. The word “contributed” doesn’t really begin to describe it, though. Kibby was a ferocious bundle of energy. She sang a lot of the tracks from saturdays=youth, and pounded away at those keyboards like she was possessed. Both she and Gonzalez were brimming with enthusiasm and energy. It was impossible to see them without having that energy rub off.

I’ll leave you with an emblematic video of a live performance of Couleurs, though the sound quality doesn’t remotely do it justice.


  1. Thanks for the link kids! Hope you like our website :)

    Comment by bradley — November 13, 2008 @ 5:30 pm

  2. Indeed! Your logo is especially awesome. Looking forward to when you put the interview up!

    Comment by ashmore — November 13, 2008 @ 9:00 pm

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