My two friends and I walked into the Vogue Theatre on Friday, April 27th, with our cameras in hand – and soon enough a beer in the other – ready for the night approaching. I instantly tuned in to the music coming from inside the theatre doors. I Break Horses, a duo from Sweden, was captivating the crowd with their relative ambient, heady sound. We slowly migrated through the crowd, and wound up in close proximity to the stage. Although we arrived ‘fashionably late’ (aka couldn’t get our shit together), I got to enjoy the last few songs of their set. Accompanied by an abundant applause, the stage was empty yet again, awaiting the act of the evening: M83.
We stood relatively silent – waiting, listening. Suddenly, our attention was brought to centre stage where a recognizable pig-like monster stood; hands slowly raising as the crowds anticipation came to a boiling point. As hundreds of twinkling lights illuminated the backdrop in front of us, and hues of blue, purple, and pink flashed violently from the series of strobe lights, the stage became the perfect host to the viral sounds of ‘Intro’ (off of their most recent album Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming) which started off the show.
The chords pulsed through the packed theatre as we heard an ever-familiar whisper: “We didn’t need a story, we didn’t need a real world. We just had to keep walking, and we became the stories. We became the places. We were the lights, the deserts, the faraway worlds. We were you before you even existed.”
The energy was contagious, so much so that the song was drowned out by the screams of anticipation. It was then that front man Anthony Gonzales led M83 onto the stage and took his place comfortably beside his soundboard, followed by drummer Loïc Maurin, guitarist Nicholas Fromageau, and temporary member and keyboardist Morgan Kibby. Anthony leaned towards the microphone and the screams subsided. This was the moment we had all been waiting for. “Carry on, carry on. Carry on…”
M83’s stage presence was captivating, however it was Morgan Kibby, the beautiful keyboardist (and tambourine extraordinaire) with charming brown locks and a maxi dress that really held her own.
Anthony led the crowd through a frenzy of memories, playing ‘Teen Angst’ and “Graveyard Girl’ from M83’s previous records, followed by his more recent single ‘Reunion’. Although I stood at the very front of the crowd, I turned around periodically to take a good look at everybody behind and around me. You could see the music sinking into each individual, caressing their senses and bringing a feeling of unity to the packed theatre. It is evident M83 has embodied the essence of contemporary ambient, indie-electronic music. Although the primary sounds are that of synthesizers, there is a certain air of intimacy that makes M83 so impactful. It isn’t easy creating sounds of that magnitude that can translate harmonically into a live performance.
As the night progressed, M83 transitioned seamlessly through their set, playing a crowd favourite ‘We Own the Sky’, and an unexpected but well received cover of Daft Punk’s ‘Fall’. ‘Midnight City’ and ‘Guitar and a Heart’ collected what was left of their energy, with an incredible sax solo to boot, and brought the evening to a close. As the four bandmates exited the stage, an unwavering applause erupted throughout the crowd, and the predictable “Encore!” chant began. Only a minute or two later, M83 took the stage one last time with ‘Couleurs’ and ‘Skin of the Night’ to conclude what could be described as a cinematic and unforgettable performance.
Written by Jenny Therrien
Photographed by Savannah Golding