m83sax.JPG
That human-shaped white blur in the middle is the sax guy. Trust me.
M83

Thurs, April 26th, 2012

The Paramount Theatre

Last time M83 played

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M83 Brings Their Epic Synth Rock--And a Saxophone!--to the Paramount Theatre

m83sax.JPG
That human-shaped white blur in the middle is the sax guy. Trust me.
M83

Thurs, April 26th, 2012

The Paramount Theatre

Last time M83 played Seattle--two back-to-back shows at the now improbably small seeming Neumos--there was one minor but significant thing missing: the saxophone. The saxophone solo on "Midnight City" is without a doubt the most audacious and triumphant moment on all of latest album Hurry Up, We're Dreaming, a bit of glorious cheese that seals the album's tone of unrepentant '80s soundtrack bliss. Live, I wanted to see it played by, like, a three-way chorus of Timmy Cappello, Clarence Clemons (RIP), and Lisa Simpson--which is literally impossible--but there was no sax at all, just a few little added synthesizer blips on that part instead. So even though I felt like Charlie Brown running at the football, I couldn't help but wonder: hitting a bigger venue on the heels of two Coachella performances, would they have expanded the live show? Would there be sax?

Short answer: Yes.

The longer answer is that right up until the moment a guy came out form the wings with horn in hand, I wasn't sure it was going to happen. Everything else about the show had been basically just like that Neumos show--from the Hurry up cover monsters starting the show with a wordless arm gesture to the flashing lights and crescendos of sound to the cinematic mix of small-scale sentimentality and epic bombast that I'd last time described as half Michel Gondry, half Michael Bay--only in a much grander and more gilded room. (M83 main man Anthony Gonzalez at one point exclaimed, "Seattle! Oh my God! This is a fucking huge venue for us. It's amazing, we're so excited, this is such a beautiful place." Minus the f-bomb, STG ought to put that endorsement on the Theatre's website.) The band played in the same four-piece configuration as last time, and the sax man only ran out for that climax of "Midnight City," their twelfth song and arguably the high point of the night. I spent the whole 45 seconds or whatever grinning and laughing out loud like a geek. (Then I wondered what that guy does the rest of the show--merch booth?)

The rest of the show was predictably great, every M83 song artfully engineered for maximum catharsis and ecstatic uplift, ballads bleeding into massive synth rock rave-ups. "We Own the Sky" was the other great highlight, the band's female vocalist/keyboard player going full operatic on its first line, the back half of the song diving into a double-time rush of electronic beats. The crowd frequently clapped along en masse. Kids crowd-surfed to synth arpeggios. A spectacular show.

 
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