by Austin Sylvest
Pictures by Steve Hatley
M83 made their blissful Junk album debut a spectacular show of color and synth-pop at the Civic Theatre in Downtown New Orleans. The show marked the first live appearance for the band in the United States since 2013, while simultaneously supporting their 2011 critically acclaimed album Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming. The band played the show two days before the release of their highly-anticipated new album Junk and graced New Orleans with never-before-heard tunes and live elements.
Front man Anthony Gonzalez and company began the show by playing their fan favorite track “Reunion”, before transitioning into their new space-pop lead single “Do It, Try It”. The track filled the audience with energy as Gonzalez teased the crowd at the edge of the stage, before the final chorus of the song exploded into a powerful wall of dance synth and color.
M83 did a stellar job of pleasing loyal fans throughout the night as they performed 11 tracks in total from their previous albums. The band blasted through the first part of their set before exploding into the 2011 electro-dance single “Steve McQueen”. The track was followed by one of the oldest songs of the night, “We Own the Sky”, in which M83’s stage presence shined as their visuals came to life with the song’s rich lyrics and electric atmosphere led by new keyboardist Kaela Sinclair. Other fan favorites during the night included “Couleurs”, ”OK Pal”, “Oblivion”, “Wait”, “Echoes of Mine”, “Into”, “Outro”, and the 2011 mega-hit “Midnight City”, during which the Civic Theatre was glowing with M83’s 80’s-style synth-pop and the famous saxophone solo during the song’s bridge.
The band also debuted eight songs from their latest album Junk, which proved to be a hit with long-time fans. New songs featured the classic M83 formula, and were filled with killer sax, dance, and pop hooks. Highlights included the ambient new single “Solitude”, during which Anthony Gonzalez towered behind his synth and delivered an epic, solemn solo. The new track “Road Blaster” was also a standout track that featured an infectious chorus with a cool sax feel and pop guitar hooks.
The night ended with Gonzalez thanking the crowd by saying, “You guys have been so amazing to us. It was the first one of the tour and I’m glad to spend it with you guys.” M83 then ripped into the magnificent new track “Laser Gun”, featuring singer Mai Lan who made frequent appearances during the night. Overall it was a grand return for M83. Although fans were unfamiliar with the songs, the sheer honor of hosting M83 on opening night was a thrill in itself.
by Steve Hatley
The French electronic band M83 (Messier 83) started off as a duo. Of the two, Anthony Gonzalez is the only original member. From 2001 to 2011, the band put out albums fairly consistently, six in all. In 2013, they turned their focus to producing the soundtracks for Oblivion and You and the Night. But this hiatus from both recordings and touring was broken this year in grand fashion, with the release of Junk and a tour that started here in New Orleans at the Civic Theater just days before the release.
The band did some last-minute ironing out of their tour at the Civic the day before the show. The grand practice space was the ideal venue for the tour’s blueprint. As expected, the set was stacked with tracks from the new album as well as some from 2011 album Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming. Contrary to what the title Junk would naturally conjure up in one’s mind, the music from the new release is anything but. And all the tracks work well together.This latest tour is also highlighted by new singer-keyboardist Kaela Sinclair. This was her first official performance with the band, though you really couldn’t tell. The stage show was beyond mesmerizing and suited the Civic beyond all my wildest expectations. For more pictures, click HERE.