M83

Osheaga 2012 Review/Recap: Florence, Of Monsters and Men, Dum Dum Girls, M83, Austra

Posted on by lauren in Concerts | Leave a comment

Photo By: Jordan DiCecca

Osheaga has easily become the largest music festival in Canada. This year’s fest on Parc Jean-Drapeau in belle Montreal, hosted a three day music festival to over 120,000 people. That’s a huge jump from the 80,000 of 2011. It’s a festival  I have frequented for the past 4 years, and I prefer to the hot and dry backdrop of say, Bonnaroo or Coachella.

So what were the highlights and lowlights of this year’s Osheaga? Well, I’ll begin by saying, I missed Justice and it’s now on a list of small regrets I plan to rectify in the near future.

FRIDAY

Photo By: Jordan DiCecca

Highlights

Of Monsters and Men: Straight out of Iceland, these guys warmed our hearts with their melodic folk-rock. They were the first band we managed to catch of the day in the delicious blistering heat, and it was definitely a great start.

Dum Dum Girls: These girls are fantastic live, all dressed like a sexy Lydia from Beetlejuice. I officially have a girl crush on every single one of them. Even though they suffered through technical problems and their set was cut short, it was still worth every second of that surf punk.

Florence and the Machine: Every time I see Florence Welch make a television appearance, I’m left breathless by the power of her vocals, and the ethereal witch-like presence she evokes, however I have never seen her really do much on stage other than wave her arms around in a flowing gown. This performance was manic, she was all over the place, in the crowd, jumping, yelling, twirling, you name it. She played mostly her new album and a few well known hits from Lungs, and she didn’t miss a beat.

SATURDAY

Photo By: Jordan DiCecca

Highlights

SBTRKT: These guys brought a serious fucking dance party on Saturday afternoon in that almost unbearable heat. Highlights included people climbing the tree to get a better look at the stage, security having to climb said tree to get them down. Sadly Little Dragon, whose set was after SBTRKT didn’t join for Wildfire, but their live rendition of it blew the pants off of the very little amount of people wearing pants.

Yeasayer: Caught half of their set, but they were the highlight of Saturday. Playing old hits and new songs from the upcoming Fragrant World, Saturday was a day of drinking, dancing, and being merry. If you haven’t seen Yeasayer, add them to your list.

SUNDAY

Highlights

Austra: Classically trained Canadian musician Katie Stelmanis has had a myriad of musical projects on the go, but latest band Austra, formerly known as Private Life, until discovering another band under that name, they changed their name to Austra – Katie Stelmanis’ middle name. It was brutally hot after the rain that early afternoon and she brought a pretty big dance party to the table.

Buraka Som Sistema: These guys are out of Portugal but generally create a variation of African beats called “Kuduru”, the final product is a percussion heavy non stop EDM project that you can’t stand still to.

Bloc Party: It was raining heavy during their set, but that didn’t stop the massive crowd from going absolutely nuts. Bloc Party has finally reunited after a long hiatus, and we couldn’t be more excited. They put on a hell of a show despite the shitty weather, and I have never seen that many people crowd surf in the middle of the day since my Warped Tour Highschool days.

M83: THE HIGHLIGHT OF THE WEEKEND. I said earlier in the Osheaga 2012 Preview, that come hell or high water, I would not miss these guys and I sacrificed seeing the Black Angels to squish my way up front, waiting 45 minutes for M83 to begin. The unbelievable light show, coupled with the EPIC performance made them the last set I saw that night, because… nothing could top it.  Just, speechless.

Low-lights of the weekend: 

Missing Justice: My own fault. Forever a regret.

The set up: in 2011 there was 80,000 attendants over the three day fest, this year it jumped up to 120,000 people. This required larger capacity areas for the stages, which is understandable. However, they set up sketchy ass staircases that you had to use to get from stage to stage. Besides the fact that they wobbled when you used them, it bottlenecked the crowd and made travel time between stages twice as long as normal. I managed to only see a quarter of the bands on the schedule because of this, and would have to leave 3 songs into a bands set to make the next band.

The crowd during M83: If anyone was near the front and can attest to this, please do. Seriously, what the fuck was that. I have never seen people my age (26) behave so moronically. There was a group of about eight people that were so high and drunk out of their minds that they decided a mosh pit and crowd surfing were great ideas, however they were so fucked up they couldn’t support anyone surfing over them, or stand their ground so they caused a lot of injury. Also, a guy ended up collapsing unable to stand up and his girlfriend kept jumping on his head behind us…

Security: To continue with the rant above, security was pretty awesome aside from this set. A dude collapsed, couldn’t get up, and about ten people in the crowd tried to get security in to pull the guy out and they wouldn’t do it. He was literally getting trampled on by his own girlfriend.

Lessons learned: If M83 plays next year I will lay on the grass from afar, enjoy the light show and enjoy my beer.

 

Lollapalooza Day 1 Review: m83, Dr. Dog, The Shins, Yellow Ostrich, August 3rd, Chicago

Posted on by Celeste in Concerts | Leave a comment

Superlatives for day 1 of Lollapalooza:

Best hair of Lollapalooza Friday: Dev

Dev is fabulous – pure and simple. Girl came onstage wearing an adorable denim dress and rocking a ‘do that looked straight out of the 90’s: huge curly waves of bleach blonde hair coming straight sideways out of her head. Her superlative could also read: most gravity-defying hair of Lollapalooza Friday. I only caught half her set because I was stage hopping to The Shins, but she was full of energy and the crowd fed right off it (she also gave the crowd instructions, which I super enjoy when bands do, like “now put one hand in the hair” “now shake your booty”). I would’ve stayed for her entire set and ditched The Shins, but unfortunately the girl in front of me had quite a head of hair herself, and when she started whippin’ her massive ponytail in my face I decided to peace.

Most “meh” act of Lollapalooza Friday: M83

To be fair, before I hate on M83, the band came on at 7:30pm when things started getting crazy and the crowds were animal print pants out of control. Also to be fair, my love for this band is based solely on the first 20 seconds of Midnight City, so I probably shouldn’t have been surprised that the set was a bust for me. My problem with M83 is the same problem that I have with Gotye – the vocals aren’t powerful enough. Both bands have these amazing beats behind them, but once the vocalist opens his mouth it sounds like a shy kid mumbling through gauze. Pass.

Most adorable act of Lollapalooza Friday: Yellow Ostrich

Yellow Ostrich receives the honor for most adorable act of Lollapalooza Friday for a couple of reasons: 1) their lead singer, Alex Schaaf, looks like he’s 12 and is super cute, and 2) they interrupted their set so that one of their fans could get onstage and propose to his girlfriend. She said yes which was great, although as Schaaf mused afterwards, had she said no it might have become a viral video which would have been excellent press for the band. After hearing their set though, which included my favorites – stay at home, whale and marathon runner – I have full faith that this band is going to succeed on their own merit, viral vid or no.

Most chill act of Lollapalooza Friday: The Shins

I love The Shins. Their cover of We Will Become Silhouettes is always on repeat on my itunes during times of high stress (like when I had to choose between my Lolla conflicts this year. Chairlift or Neon Indian? Fun. or Tuneyards? Franz Ferdinand or Calvin Harris? #First world problems). They were one of the bigger names at Lolla though, and I was a little nervous about how they would come across when I was half a mile away from them, as opposed to being up close and personal. I should’ve realized that really isn’t a problem for The Shins – The Shins’ music isn’t made for crowding near the stage and rocking out, The Shins’ music is made for sitting down in a field, closing your eyes and absorbing.

Winner of Lollapalooza Friday: Dr. Dog

I have a very particular downfall when it comes to concerts in which I only know one song by a band, but I really enjoy that one song. Then, when the band comes to town, I go to their concert and they don’t play that one song, at which point I come to really dislike them. I fully expected this to be the case with Dr. Dog, as the only song I know by them is Get Away, and in fact they didn’t play that one during their set at Lolla. Nonetheless, Dr. Dog ended up ‘winning’ Lolla Friday for the following reasons:

1) I loved every single other song they played so much more than Get Away that I would’ve honestly been pissed had they wasted time on it.
2) Scott McMicken and Frank McElroy had the most enthusiastic and awesome dance moves of the night
3) They have great lyrics: “I put my clothes on like a bodyguard”, “I don’t wanna fight/but I’m constantly ready/and I don’t rock the boat/but it’s always unsteady.”
4) They had the best cover of the night –Architecture in Helsinki’s “heart it races” (although to give credit to AIH that’s some excellent starting material)
5) They win for best outfit – I love it when bands sport their own merch. Done and done.

Osheaga 2012 Preview! Part 3 What to see on Sunday!

Posted on by lauren in Concerts | Leave a comment

So Sunday, the last and most exciting day of the festival is also calling for thunderstorms and 20mm of rain. When have mudfights and soggy clothing ever slowed concert goers down before?

Here’s who I will be checking out Sunday, as they are far more important to name than others.

1) Doe Paoro – Playing the earliest slot, this girl’s talent promises that she will be a headliner in no time.

2) Zola Jesus – Not much needs to be said about her, gothy, ethereal, beautiful voice.

3) Aloe Blacc – Rocketed to popularity when his song was used as the title sequence for the now defunct How To Make It In America (RIP)

4) The Airborne Toxic Event- Heard them on a show that will remain nameless (guilty pleasure), interested to see what their live show holds.

5) Tame Impala – I describe them as genre and decade bending psychedelic 60s indie… How could you miss that.

6) Austra – While I despised Katie Stelmanis as an outfit, Austra is smooth danceable electronic, Paper Bag Records newest success.

7) Santigold – Not much needs to be said about her. Always brings it, great stage presence and her song featuring Karen O is one of the best on the new album.

8) The Shins – Stoked to cross these guys off the bucketlist. Mercer’s voice sounds impeccably clear on all live videos I’ve watched.

9) Buraka Som Sistema – My go to exercise album at the gym. African based EDM trumps dubstep any day.

10) Bloc Party – Kele! Yes! Excited to see these guys back together. Sunday promises to be a day of dancing.

11) The Black Angels – Listening to these guys is like traveling back to the 70’s. It’s grungy, dirty psychedelic. I also heard they killed it at Lee’s Palace their last tour.

12) M83 – In torrential downpour, lightning and whatever else that day will throw at us, I will fight tooth and nail to get to the front at their set. M83 created one of the best albums of the year and the best way to describe their sound is “cinematic”, and “epic”.

Notables: Zeus, Common, Black Keys, Dan Mangan, Metric.

Concert Review: M83, May 6th, Sound Academy

Posted on by Ricky in Concerts | 2 Comments

Going to a M83 show is like entering a kaleidoscope dream where you don’t want to wake.

With neon fluorescent lighting augmenting a colorful starry night backdrop, the band’s spectacular light show coupled with their super impressive live set made the it completely worthwhile for those willing to risk live and limb heading to the Sound Academy Sunday night. As Sean Bean would say, “one simply does not go to the Sound Academy.”

M83’s most recent album, the double disc spectacular known as Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming was one of the best albums of last year and it seems like many people are catching on, as French band made the jump from the cozy Lee’s Palace to the gigantic Sound Academy in just a span of six months. The sold out all ages crowd ranged from children to older types, which had me thinking that some of the eight year olds in the crowd were definitely much cooler then I was when I was that age.

The band was exceptionally solid from start to finish, vets Anthony Gonzalez, Loïc Maurin and Morgan Kirby were as good as you would expect but new comer Jordan Lawlor was especially impressive as the non stop energizer bunny guitar player. He was all over the stage and added a nice element of surprise to the show.

The set was evenly divided between materials old and new, with classic tracks such as Graveyard Girl, Teenage angst and Sitting making an appearance. In what appears to be a role reversal from most shows, the excited crowd responded more to the new tracks then the old one, an ever clear indication of the band’s relatively new fan base. m83’s songs are a great example of quiet-loud songs done well, and the live show was no exception. The quiet parts, such as the track Wait created a sort of intimacy one normally wouldn’t expect in a crowd of three thousand while tracks like Steve McQueen created a blistering wall of sound that was one of the trademarks of earlier m83 works.

Then there was Midnight City. Arguably my (and most people’s) favorite track of 2011, Midnight City was the highlight of the show for me. As the opening notes of the track played over the speakers, the crowd erupted in a frenzy of excitement. Of course, we were all wondering – what about the sax solo? Would it be pre-recorded (some parts of the concert had pre-recorded bits) or would it be something else. Sure enough just as the sax solo part arrived, a solo saxophone player burst out from the back playing the solo in all it’s gloriousness much to everyone’s delight. Greatest part of the show.

m83’s rise to the top has been a slow journey, but with impressive festival slots and ever increasing concert venue sizes, it looks like m83 has finally arrived. Make sure you are there for the ride.

Set List

Intro
Teen Angst
Graveyard Girl
Reunion
Sitting
Year One, One UFO
We Own The Sky
Steve McQueen
Wait
Fall (Daft Punk cover)
This Bright Flash
Midnight City
A Guitar And A Heart
Encore:
Skin Of The Night
Couleurs


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