M83 at the Triple Rock Social Club, April 23, 2005.
To paraphrase the intro to a Tenacious D show, "warning: if you want your head blown completely off, stay in the room."
I figured any live representation of M83's sweeping panoramic soundscapes would be pretty impressive, but I did not know that I would almost be literally knocked over, and my senses totally annihilated. After a pleasant but not-very-watchable laptop/keyboard opening set by Ulrich Schnauss, M83 launched into the plodding opening track of Before the Dawn Heals Us. Uh, do you know how to spell b-a-s-s? I couldn't believe how physically pounding the bass was. It was a combination of a computer-tracked bass kick, a live bass drum kick, and the bass guitar. Each kick was a blow to the chest. We were close, and we probably did not hear the guitars/keyboards as well as we would have if we would have been back a bit. We probably were getting a lot of the club's subwoofers (they must have had them). It was a wall of sound akin to moments of other concerts I've seen like My Bloody Valentine, Sonic Youth, and Spiritualized. The pre-recorded keyboards, the live keyboards, drums, bass, and one or two guitars created a tsunami of sound that was pert near too much to take. Anthony Gonzalez sang a few lines here and there as well. I said after the show, each song, I'm saying, EVERY song, could have been a grand finale to a band's set. They were majestic, soaring, intoxicating, and assaulting.
You can get a vague idea of what went down from these video clips. I figured the sound would turn out badly, and it did. It was just too loud for my camera to handle. Still, there are moments when it quiets down and you can hear better then (I'll *note* these). Also, it was really dark and the videos reflect that. Some of the pictures turned out because I could use a bit of a flash.
M83-Moon_Child.AVI 4.3 MB
M83-clip2.AVI 4 MB
M83-Run_into_Flowers.AVI 4.4 MB *not 100% distorted
M83-Dont_Save_Us_From_the_Flames.AVI 4.1 MB *not 100% distorted (at least check this one out if none of the others).
M83_screwdriver_clip.AVI 1.7 MB You can see a bouncing screwdriver for the first half of this video. It was hitting some slide guitar like instrument as it was bouncing up and down (pic below).
M83-Teen_Angst.AVI 2.8 MB *not 100% distorted
After the show I wasn't sure:
1. if my head had indeed been blown off.
2. how I'd actually managed to remain standing the entire time, and not get knocked over.
3. if it was possible to experience what we just had, and survive.
4. if I'd just had about 16 sonic orgasms.
5. how the walls didn't come crashing in.
Anyway, it was certainly $10 and 1 hr and 15 tremendously well spent. After the encore, people were still cheering wildly, but the sound guy decided the show was over (and I suppose the band's contract had been met) and started playing a cd. So we wandered like zombies out into the night and had to lean on my car for a while to talk about what we had just experienced.
A close-up of the screwdriver from the above pic. The guy started it bouncing at planned times.