You’ve heard an M83 song whether you’ve known it or not. But the band has much more depth than the one-or-two hit songs used for every cinematic moment in the last ten years.
Midnight City and Outro are both songs that were the cornerstones of cinematic, euphoric moments in films and commercials since M83 released the songs back in 2011. Since then, their synth-pop sound has been replicated by bedroom DIYers and studio bands alike, but none have come close to matching. It’s almost impossible to understate their importance to the genre, and for former budding filmmakers who abused both songs in slow motion scenes…like myself.
But a deep dive into M83’s history shows that 2011’s hallmark album for the band, Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming, was the band’s sixth album, and that they’ve released three more albums since then, including their latest effort, 2023’s Fantasy. The album was meant to have more of a cohesive “Band in a room” feel according to frontman Anthony Gonzalez, in comparison to previous efforts with minimal personel. The resulting album is full with experimental jamming that still is grounded in M83’s sound.
The Palace Theatre was an apt choice for the show. Palace’s acoustics and sound system has become widely known to upper midwest concert aficionados for it’s great sound, and a band like M83 – who has layers and layers of synths and guitar pedals – needs as much depth as they can get. Initial tweets and crowd reactions say this was one of the better sounding shows to ever happen at the venue.
Fantasy was the main focus of the night, making up ten songs out of the nineteen song set, The setlist just being three songs short of performing the whole album in it’s entirety. However, Gonzalez has made a point in mentioning that the songs from Fantasy are meant to be better when live – meaning that many of these songs will be in the setlist rotation for years to come.
Gonzalez was a quiet frontman throughout the night, only pausing for brief moments to thank the crowd or talk briefly about the next song, but his lack of banter is what allowed the band to move through the setlist quickly, while still performing their eight or nine minute long songs, of course encoreing with the aforementioned Midnight City and Outro, both of which still have a similar amount of eye-roll to them as they did when their lustre started to fade after a few years, like when a classic rock station plays Hotel California. It’s an obligation for the band to play it , and for the crowd, it’s an obligation for them to pretend to hate on it. And in both cases, deep down, they’re all good songs.