The City Is My Church

M83 – Leeds Stylus 20th Jan

I’m not a religious man, I don’t go to church and I don’t believe in a higher power, however during M83’s virtuosic performance of “We Own The Sky,” I had a spiritual awakening. As sound waves crashed against me, my note taking ceased, the aches of my body were replaced with a tide of euphoria. I was mesmerised, entranced like a stooge touched by a faith healer who had instantly cured all of my ill’s and for the briefest of moments, life was perfect.

In truth the sceptic in me was expecting something far less impressive. I thought I’d be watching in disappointment as M83 front man, Anthony Gonzalez, pissed around with sequencers and twiddled knobs in a vain attempt to replicate the soaring soundscapes of his albums. I was wrong, so very, very wrong. From the moment that Gonzalez and his cohorts arrived on stage to the very last note they played, M83 were nothing short of breathtaking.

When they opened on a pitch perfect rendition of “Intro” from new album, Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming, the bar was set high and it just continued to raise. Gonzalez delivered every track with supreme, but never misplaced confidence. I watched on in utter awe as Gonzalez entered a musical trance to deliver a performance, where “Midnight City” thundered overhead and show closer “Couleurs” almost descended into the maddening haze of Daft Punk’s “Derezzed.” A performance where no track felt like it would ever be played the same way again. Where each diversion from the original recordings took songs which already sounded gigantic and made them gargantuan.

Not once did they play with anything other than total dedication to their art, transcending the confines of the dimly lit room and dragging me along with them. It was the same sort of experience as watching a congregation sing in praise to a God they have total faith in and for an hour I ascended to the ‘80s inspired worlds of Gonzalez’s creation. If escapism was a religion it’d be called M83, Gonzalez would be the messiah and I’d be a believer.