M83 Live in Vancouver – John Hughes’ 80s Woven With Unicorns

It’s the sound of all of John Hughes and Ennio Morricone soundtracks woven together with unicorns and innocence. It’s layers of synth and otherworldly vocals atop anchoring basslines and guitar, thus eliciting the feeling of eating ice cream on a hot summer day when you’re a kid. It is, as the Backstage Roadie proclaimed, music that is both familiar and unique at once.

Ah hell, sod it.

Really, all it is is the music of French 80s addict Anthony Gonzalez, aka M83. And it’s the kind of thing that brought joy to a sold-out theatre in Vancouver on a Friday night, causing drunken dudes to bro-hug and dance together, underdressed, backcombed downtown girls to sway and hipsters to punch the sky with happy.

The start included that furry, penis-nosed creature from the Hurry Up We’re Dreaming! album taking the stage, followed by the band segueing into – natch – “Intro” as longtime girl-voice Morgan Kibby stood in for Zola Jesus.  “Graveyard Girl” came third, “Midnight City” later with all the laser-shot punctuation and a SURPRISE SAX SOLO! making everyone grin. “We Own the Sky” sounded thick and heady,  “Skin of the Night”, delicate. And the bestest for nerds? Their remix of Daft Punk’s “Fall” from the Tron: Legacy soundtrack flooding into “This Bright Flash”? Oh yes…

Drummer Loïc Maurin once again held full court behind neon posts, whilst young guitarist Jordan Lawlor bounced around the stage. Kibby provided the requisite ethereal, and in the middle, le man, le myth, le LEGENDE, Anthony Gonzalez held court – sometimes on a Simian Mobile Disco-sized analog keyboard set up, sometimes on bass, sometimes facing Loïc with his hands clasped.

Ultimately, it was just a good, brightly coloured night of lights and layers. Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go unwrap my limited edition No. 1028 “dandruff white” vinyl version of The Breakfast Club soundtrack that I got on Record Store Day, and think about unicorns. \m/

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