Venue: KL Live, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Date: 7th May 2016
Promoter: Freeform Sdn. Bhd.
Review by: Rae C.
Special Thanks: Julia, Grace, and the Commas & Industry and Urbanscapes teams
It has been over a week since M83 was in Kuala Lumpur for their first ever show here. Following the previous Urbanscapes gigs (which started on 23rd April), it has been a weekly affair of indie gigs in the country the last few weekends with shows by acts such as Tame Impala, Malaysia’s Hujan & Bittersweet, Rudimental, and Singapore’s The Observatory. M83 was also the final international act for this year’s festival, after a 2.5 week run of performances, arts, and workshops in the heart of KL. The 2016 edition took a very different approach from their regular two-day music festival setting and held individual headlining gigs instead. I guess this gives the bands the opportunity to play longer sets, and keeps the concert-goers satisfied.
The skies and gods decided to shower us with a thunderstorm and flashfloods in the peninsular that very evening. It took me nearly two hours to get to the venue that night, instead of the usual half an hour and I had already missed the opening act by the time I arrived at KL Live. I was a little bummed, as I would normally look forward to checking out new bands at gigs like this.
That being said, I only waited about 10 minutes before M83 went up on stage at 9pm. To be honest, I am only familiar with a handful of songs from the band, most of which are from their Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming album, as well as the Oblivion soundtrack. This however, actually left me pretty excited to witness what they had in store for us that night.
Despite missing the supporting act, I can only assume Stellar Dreams did a great job in warming up the crowd who appear to be eagerly and anxiously waiting for M83. Neon lights decked the stage’s backdrop, flashing from blue to purple to red, in line with the beat of “Reunion”. Lead singer, Anthony Gonzalez, and gang graced the stage, which garnered screams from fans, who sang every lyric with much enthusiasm.
The band went on to perform “Do It, Try It” off their latest album, Junk, and upbeat tracks such as “OK Pal”, and “We Own The Sky”. “Road Blaster” from Junk also received airtime, as did “Wait”, the track I was most eager to hear live. This song was made popular by the movie The Fault in Our Stars, as it was featured in the scene where Hazel reads Gus’s eulogy for her. It was a tear-jerking moment in the film, and the song fit perfectly for that scene. I just loved how Anthony sang it with so much emotion that night; it was moving to say the least.
Kaela Sinclair, replacing longtime keyboardist Morgan Kibby, took over vocal duties for the next song, “Go!”, the third single from their latest release. This gave Anthony time to interact with the audience, as he made his way down from the stage and high-fived everyone in the front row. Their hit song “Midnight City” was performed next, undoubtedly drawing massive cheers from the crowd. An epic saxophone solo took centre stage at the end of the performance – who knew that a sax solo could sound this sexy!
M83 concluded their set with “Outro” from Hurry Up, and as the band left the stage, the crowd started chanting for an encore. The night was still young and within minutes the band came back on stage. This time multi-instrumentalist Jordan Lawlor went on to play percussion that was set at the front of the stage for his drum solo in “Couleurs”. The band continued to perform another four songs for their encore set – “For the Kids”, “Oblivion”, “Walkway Blues” (where Jordan made his lead vocals debut) and ended the show with “Lower Your Eyelids to Die with the Sun” from 2005’s Before The Dawn Heals Us. As the final riffs of the song came to an end and the house lights were turned on at KL Live, the quintet came to the front of the stage, bowed, and thanked the fans.
It was evident that everyone in the venue wanted more than the hour and a half set they were given, but it was time to say Farewell / Goodbye.