M83 Concert @ Mezzanine 05.27.2009

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“This microphone is so short. I feel like a midget,” Anthony Gonzalez lamented before gusting into “Kim & Jessie” near the midpoint of M83’s performance at San Francisco’s Mezzanine.

The venue’s pseudo-industrial design was perfect for the M83’s electronic sound. To Gonzalez’s credit, much of the band’s ambient and shoegaze sound (at least after the first few songs) were swapped for more appropriate techno and club beats. M83’s extensive use of reverb went missing in the performance, as the band took full advantage of the Mezzanine’s awesome sound system with heavy bass.

I guess I was a little late because I didn’t even get to see James Yuill on stage. DJ Aaron Axelsen was mixing tracks when I got there. I roamed around the pretty large venue, and the other concertgoers all seemed to be having a good time. After Axelsen’s set, the silence was brief before Gonzalez opened with a few tracks from his Digital Shades, Vol. 1 album.

Moving pictures filled two separate projector screens, one near the left of the stage and the other on the right perpendicular to the stage, and perfectly mixed with the ambient electronic songs. A car driving through the desert, a camping trip, nature — all the scenes fit given the way M83’s music seemingly is about everything and nothing at the same time.

The Antibes, France-native Gonzalez played Digital Shades songs for just the right time before Loic Maurin (longtime collaborator) and Morgan Kibby (The Romanovs) joined him onstage and the three immediately started performing “Graveyard Girl.” The ever-gracious Gonzalez thanked the crowd many times throughout the night, even saying it in Spanish.

M83’s huge catalog was employed, as Gonzalez highlighted any non-tracks from his recent Saturdays=Youth LP with “here’s a track from our very first record.” He would add another “very” after each subsequent time. The songs blended so well together I had a hard time distinguishing them. I think “Moonchild” and “A Guitar And A Heart” were played.

I was bummed that they didn’t play “Up!” since it mostly featured Kibby’s vocals, but I was content to see her dance and rock out to the amazing “Couleurs” and “We Own The Sky” performances. I had no idea Gonzalez was that buff because even though I was far enough that my camera phone took nothing but haze and smoke, I swear I could see his abs to go along with his super toned arms.

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[photos via Allison McCarthy]

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