M83 and Man Without Country Brixton Academy 8th November 2012 Live Review

Deja vu: the experience of thinking that a new situation had occurred before.


Going on holiday to the same place every year has always confused me. The same hotel, the same people, the same sights and the same experience year after year. I don't know about you, but as soon as it gets to the point where I'm on first name terms with the receptionist, it's time to leave.

I suppose people like knowing what to expect, and the idea of having a 'home away from home' must be comforting. If only you could pick up your dream hotel and drop it in a different, improved, location.

M83 brought the astounding 'Hurry Up We're Dreaming' back to London just 11 months after their last performance in the capital, at London Heaven. It was the same show, the same special guests and the same setlist. It was the upgraded version, and it was absolute perfection.

The magnificent Man Without Country opened up proceedings with the euphoric 'Foe', and proved themselves to be one of the most exciting live acts around. With the kind of lighting that The XX's live performances are missing dearly, their set felt worthy of headline status.

'Inflammable Hearts' and 'Iceberg' are standouts, and the obvious similarities to M83 are hard to ignore. Each track takes a different path before culminating in choruses worthy of the famous Brixton venue. At their best, they sound like a Washed Out and M83 lovechild, and at their worst it feels like Calvin Harris has got hold of some These New Puritans demos and asked Miles Kane to take on vocal responsibilities (which is a surprisingly enjoyable concept).

It is an almost flawless, revolutionary set that should mark the arrival of Man Without Country. It's time to step out of the M83 shadow and challenge for their title.

An undoubtedly tough act to follow, but when you have the ammo that M83 have in their locker, it becomes a proverbial walk in the park. 'Hurry Up We're Dreaming' is a modern masterpiece. M83 gave glimpses of what was to come during Saturdays = Youth, but surely nobody predicted what was coming next.

As the lights drop and the customary half empty pints of beer scatter the Brixton Academy airspace, a strange looking animal walks on stage firing, what appear to be, lasers from his hands. Not the kind of start you would expect, but one that sums up the next 90 minutes; inventive, unique and utterly compelling. As the first notes of 'Intro' dance their way through the crowd, M83 take to the stage to a heroes welcome. The absence of Zola Jesus for the female vocals during 'Intro' was a disappointment, but they have seemingly found someone with an even stronger voice. As far as anthemic opening songs go, this takes some beating.

Dipping in and out of the 2 aforementioned albums, the set was accompanied by one of those most accomplished and relevant lights shows you will find at a gig. An unbelievable array of lasers, smoke and projectors add so much to the performance. 'Teen Angst' and 'We Own The Sky' are treated like forgotten classics by the sold out Brixton Academy crowd, while 'Reunion' proves itself to be one of the highlights of 'Hurry Up We're Dreaming'.

'Steve McQueen' is perhaps a surprise inclusion on paper, but this is clearly a song that was built for a live environment. 'Wait' shows off the softer side to M83, and allow Anthony Gonzalez to showcase his powerful vocals and undeniable songwriting talent.

'Midnight City', as expected, gets the biggest cheer of the night before an epic version of 'Couleurs' brings the set to a close, and if your mind wasn't already blown, this unbelievable wall of noise was the final knockout blow.

Bring on another M83 holiday in 2013.

Harry Moore


Official Site - http://ilovem83.com