M83 - The Arches, Thu 19 Jan
Revered French electro act let down by bad sound
The problem with eagerly anticipating a show for any great length of time is that you always leave yourself open to disappointment if things don’t live up to your expectations; such is the way with live music.
Sold out weeks in advance, M83’s appearance at The Arches had been on every ‘pick of the week’ list going. Opening with the first track from latest album Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming, it quickly becomes clear that touring musician Morgan Kibby – who takes on the female vocal provided by Zola Jesus on the record – will be the stand-out musician. Her vocal is strong, her range impressive and her performance is energetic and engaging when compared with main man Anthony Gonzalez‘s.
The group of multi-instrumentalists work hard to combat The Arches’ unforgivingly high ceilings but much of the gentle dual vocals, beautiful on record, are lost in the ether. Feedback issues dog the first few tracks, with the sound only really feeling level three quarters of the way through the set. Older material was in short supply, with the Saturdays = Youth track ‘Kim and Jessie’ feeling notably lacklustre and under tempo. Several bystanders bemoaned the fact that the synths were too low in the mix – an understandable complaint, given their prominence and importance in the songs. This live-sound debacle is every band’s nightmare scenario, even for someone as far into a respected career as Gonzalez, and M83 did well to persevere, yet the result was disappointing and not nearly as good as the lengthy record recently released.