Concert Review: M83 at Chicago’s Riviera Theatre

Categorized Under: Music No Commented

by Marisa Ruiz ( @MarisaVictoria )

Photo Courtesy of Anthony Fiore

An eerie alien-masked being took center stage at Riveria Theater to usher a sold-out crowd into the experience of M83 live. It was like visiting an extraordinary world that would only exist for 15 songs; a dimension where people have only French accents and play music so big and beautiful that it feels larger than the sun.

Members of the band took the stage to kick the set off and were welcomed by a sports-arena-sized roar from the elated crowd. The track “Intro” off of Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming commenced what would be an entire spectacle of live music at its best.  Their huge, ambient electro-anthems swallow you whole and leave you dancing in their belly of enthralling drum rhythms and spellbinding vocals.

Frontman Anthony Gonzlaez is the maestro who is both serene and commanding at once. Standing before a staged galaxy of stars, he and his skilled cohorts were all lost in the music from the very first song. They electrified an already luminous atmosphere with songs like “Reunion” and “Steve McQueen”. Velvety angelic vocals from keyboardist Morgan Kibby flowed in on popular tracks like “We Own The Sky”. At one point Kibby and bassist Jordan Lawlor (who joined the band on tour after winning via a YouTube audition last Fall) engaged in a head-rocking dance party over her keyboard. All the while, Loic Maurin took post behind his kit on an elevated pedestal – well befitting his powerful drumming bad-assness – and  allowing even viewers from the balcony to enjoy his grandiose crashes of percussion.

This review couldn’t go on without a nod to the lighting director for this tour. Otherworldly hues of blue morphed into neon pink and bright tones of yellow throughout the course of the set. While the music was the unmistakable star of the show, the lighting painted the sky in which M83 shined. All colors of the spectrum were captured with enough beauty to move Rainbow Brite to tears of joy. (Do you think when Rainbow Brite cries her tears are in colors?…)

Returning to the music: Well into the set, the band slowed things down with the gorgeous track “Wait”, which filled the room as it ascended into a breathtaking crescendo that’s both teeming with hope and full of sorrow.  A couple songs later the anticipation of so many was met with the immediately recognizable beat of “Midnight City”. It didn’t matter how long your work week had been. If you were in Riviera Theatre, you were on your feet for the celebration of that song in the company of a thousand other people sharing the same joy. Maybe the guys were all thinking about the Victoria’s Secret Angels in the commercial – so they were probably extra happy – but errybody in there was feeling a special kind of good for those four minutes in particular. It was magnifique. Despite being considered the band’s breakout track into mainstream American culture, “Midnight City” wasn’t even their last song. There was still “A Guitar and a Heart” followed by encore songs “Skin of the Night” and “Coleurs”.

If you haven’t been to an M83 show, I can best describe it this way: Imagine wanting to stand up, shake your head in awe and say, “Wow” after every song is played. And if you have been to an M83 show, you know exactly what the Kool-Aid I’m drinking tastes like.

Cheers,

-MV

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