Two songs ago on this list and over two months ago, I mentioned a weekend in Toronto in 2012 on which I went to concerts two nights in a row. The first night was Spiritualized for the fourth time with Nikki Lane opening at the Phoenix Concert Theatre with a bunch of friends. The second night I ventured out all by myself to The Sound Academy to see M83 with I Break Horses opening. I had an extra ticket but my wife was uninterested and I couldn’t drag any of my friends out after the heavy drinking from the previous evening. So it was a quieter, dryer event for me, being that I had to drive down to a more out of the way venue that I had never been to before. However, it ended up being a great evening as well.
Some might find it interesting that it was actually the opening band on this evening that was the bigger draw for me beforehand. This wasn’t the first time I went to a show to see the opener and it wouldn’t be the last*. On this night, though, as good as I Break Horses were to kick off the evening, M83 renewed my interest in them and made a bigger fan of me. I had gotten into them with their John Hughes-infused 2008 album, “Saturdays = youth”, but was somewhat disappointed with 2011’s followup, “Hurry up, we’re dreaming”. Seeing them live breathed a whole bunch of life into the dreamy double album for me.
M83 started out as the duo of Anthony Gonzalez and Nicolas Fromageau, forming the electronic outfit in Antibes in 2001. However, Fromageau left the project after their second album and Gonzalez has continued on as the driving force since then. He moved to California in 2010, which had a huge impact on the music that would become M83’s sixth studio album, “Hurry album, we’re dreaming”. And of course this is album on which today’s song appears.
“Midnight city” is track two, jumping in to pick up the end of the rope left dangling by the wondrous intro. It is a city that never sleeps and what happens there. It is a jumble of dreams built from synths and fantasies, cinematic and childlike, populated by all manner of beasts and creatures and overworked suits and ties. It roars and screams with electricity before being all wrapped up in a pretty package at the end with a wicked saxophone solo.
For the rest of the Best tunes of 2011 list, click here.
* Writing this last sentence gave rise to the playlist I created last week inspired by all the great opening bands I have seen over the years.