There was a cathartic irony about M83’s performance Wednesday night at Mezzanine. Onstage, a man with roots in the 80’s played music evocative of the 80’s to a crowd hell-bent on reimagining 80’s fashions. There were brief moments where Mezzanine felt straight out of Desperately Seeking Susan. Then I would spy the pair of MacBooks onstage and marvel at such deftly orchestrated nostalgia.
“Despite all classifications to the contrary, Anthony Gonzalez is far more than your everyday shoegazer.”M83’s Anthony Gonzalez was joined by Morgan Kibby and a nameless drummer–who, to add isolation to anonymity, spent the duration of the night sequestered behind soundproof glass. Unfortunately, Mezzanine’s reputation for inducing deafness continues to blemishes this otherwise respectable establishment. Last night’s sonic victims were the vocals, which were drowned in a sea of overcharged synthesizers. This happened most notably on “We Own the Sky,” where Kibby’s dulcet incantations were mixed to little more than a ghostly whisper.
M83 complemented their sonic orchestration with a video montage blending spacey illustrations with clips from obscure teen films. In theory, the video works as a visual compliment, but the reality of the Mezzanine’s layout–one screen adjacent to an abrasive red light, blinking above a crotchety bartender, the other perpendicular to the stage–makes for blurry eyes and sore necks.
These technical oversights did not overshadow the unbridled emotionality of the performance. Anthony glues his Les Paul to his crotch and thrusts the crowd, while Kibby bounds manically around her keys and goads the audience to follow suit. On certain occasions, like the encore rendition of “Coleurs,” the fervency unraveled and Mezzanine ignited into a rave-like danciness not often seen in the ambient community–further proof that despite all classifications to the contrary, Anthony Gonzalez is far more than your everyday shoegazer.