Let’s get a couple of things out of the way first:
I’m old. Walking into the
And the Middle East, what a tough place to see a show—and I stress the seeing part, because a good portion of the allure of a live gig is that you can, you know, actually SEE the performers—and not just a bobbing head or an occasional peek at a guitar neck, but entire bodies, amplifiers, drum kits and the lot. If they posted a sign above the door that said, “Abandon all hope of getting a clear view of the band, ye who enter,” they would not be lying.
Don’t get me wrong—some of my favorite shows have been at the
Still, if there’s one place in
Yes indeed, music fans—sports once again interfered with a music aficionado’s ability to hit the club and rock hard. Snilch had to give M83 a pass and cheer on his beloved Red Wings. In a cruel twist of fate,
I was committed to seeing M83, so Snilch and I parted ways after the second period, and the #70 zipped me from
M83 were good—not quite the rocking set that Snilch, Paul and I caught during the Austin City Limits Music Festival in 2005, but some of that may have been the shock from that first time of seeing a synth-driven band really bring it. You’d figure with a lot programmed keyboard and sample elements that a band would be locked into a tempo, and some of the life would get sucked out of the performance, but that really wasn’t the case. M83’s set at ACL was tight, propulsive, and hard hitting.
They had a lot of those qualities last night, but with a longer set—their ACL gig was closer to 45 minutes—they took more time to stretch out, bringing in a lot of the ambient and repetitive elements their longer songs employ. That was an aspect I enjoyed, but it led to the usual
Which is a shame. For the 50 or so minutes that I watched, I found the byplay of low key, repetitive buildups and mid-to-up-tempo songs to be pretty entrancing. They touched on key songs from Before the Dawn Heals Us and the poppier tunes from the new Saturdays=Youth. Once the sound man got the guitars in the mix—just after the second, “Graveyard Girl”—everything was nicely balanced. But as I said before, downstairs at the
I ended up bailing halfway through, after M83 played my favorite song—“Don’t Save Us from the Flames”—which rocked as righteously as it had in Austin nearly three years prior. Hey, I’m old, I was feeling curmudgeonly… why not leave on a high note?