Sunday, May 20, 2012
Concert review: M83 and I Break Horses at Granada Theater (May 19)
The packed house was put under Gonzalez's trance.
DALLAS The sold-out M83 show at the Granada on Saturday night surprisingly lived up to the hype. The show sold out in minutes months beforehand, pushing the demand so high to where a second show was added for Sunday night, which also sold out. Anthony Gonzalez, the French mastermind behind the addictive electro music, added I Break Horses to a portion of the tour. They were the only openers for the Dallas show.
I Break Horses seemed to be pretty green to the big league touring world, although they did come prepared with a stellar set filled with like-minded syth-infused songs. The Swedish group, though slightly shy onstage, tapped into an ethereal, dreamlike state with their key heavy numbers. Maria Lindén’s floating vocals filled in just the right gaps, making every song sound like it was written for her notes. Their subdued style was just what the audience needed to prepare for what was coming next.
M83’s front man, Gonzalez, has been playing what's now called shoegaze since 2001, giving him the right to claim a stake in the growing genre. He’s been experimenting behind the synthesizer long before it was popular, making his recent “debut” that much more worthy. M83 stepped out to a roaring intro, wasting no time to warm up the crowd. Whether it was their equipment or Granada’s impeccable sound management, the delivery of their heavily electronic music was pristine. Every guitar strum, keynote, and saxophone solo was singled out, all seemingly part of Gonzalez’s choreographed plan. The lights show was also part of this plan, and it succinctly flooded the stage with purple, blue, and orange.
You wouldn’t know Gonzalez was the leader onstage, as he blended into the group like any other guitarist. Keyboardist and vocalist Morgan Kibby (The Romanovs, White Sea) effortlessly took the reins during the set, punching effects and keys with the timing and confidence of a pro. Her accompanying vocals added variety to the orbital mood, helping to change up the mainly masculine driven sound. Surprisingly, the dance party didn’t fully kickoff until the end of the night, when tracks like “Steve McQueen” were played and gave the crowds something to recognize.
Their massive single, “Midnight City,” came much earlier than the encore or closer. The saxophone solo brought everyone back to the '80s, reminding the crowd how throwback the band’s sound really is. Although there were a line of Mac books on the side stage, the most surprising element was how much of the music was actually performed rather than played. What could have been sample after sample was recreated with passion and focus, making the sold-out performance that much more worthy.
Gonzalez doesn’t seem to just be riding the mainstream wave. We’ll surely see him again soon.
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