Monday, January 23, 2012

M83 / Porcelain Raft @ HMV Institute, Saturday 21st January 2012

It’s all a bit Eurovision tonight with headliners M83 hailing from la belle France and support, Porcelain Raft, originally from Italia. Ciao bella! All we need is a cross dressing Latvian and a Danish heavy metal band and we’d be sorted...whoops, there I go airing my private fantasies again...

Ahem. Anyway, first up the rather lovely sounds of Italian composer Mauro Remiddi, now trading as Porcelain Raft. With Mauro on keyboards, sampler, other electronic gizmos and guitar backed with a guy on drums it’s a pretty simple set up, but together they’re capable of creating some truly dreamy moments with Mauro’s accented falsetto and fine collection of effects pedals being a particularly impressive mix. Veering from the swirling sonics of the Cocteau Twins through to the jangly indie guitar of The Smiths and onto thrashier sounds (vague echoes of the Jesus and Mary Chain in places) the ‘80’s are clearly an influence but Mauro neatly updates it with a fresh twist of electronica. Beneath it all though is proper emotion with both Put Me To Sleep and Tip Of My Tongue (charmingly pronounced “teeeep of my tongue”) really capturing what it is that makes this particular Raft something that we could all do with clinging on to in these troubled times. As beautiful as their name suggests.

M83 have also been soothing furrowed brows for years now with 2008’s Kim and Jessie becoming a firm favourite on my own personal ‘chill the hell out’ playlist. I’d kind of neatly pigeonholed them as fine purveyors of dream pop with a bit of a kick but, whilst their set had its fair share of heart melting moments, they were clearly in the mood for a bit of a party...actually make that a rave. Yep, who’d have thought it (not me, that’s for certain) but the live M83 show has real teeth...and I’m not just talking about that weird fox / alien creature that wandered on at the start of the show (what the hell is that?! scared the bejesus out of me...). Even more recent stuff like Midnight City (featuring an awesome sax solo this evening) felt like it’d been in the gym for a while and beefed itself up. Maybe it’s the new double album, Hurry up, We’re Dreaming, that’s given the band the confidence to go out there and really blow the place apart but whoever or whatever’s responsible for the added ‘va va voom’ this current touring incarnation seems a world apart from their more shoegazey early days. And I like it that way. Take We Own The Sky as another example. The subtly speeded up live version sounded like it’s got a rocket up its bum compared with the original, prompting one of the many outbreaks of hands in the air bouncing up and down euphoria amongst the sell out crowd. On top of the musical tweaking Morgan Kibby’s vocals on this and many other tracks undoubtedly play a big role in making the live show something special too. Swiftly moving from sweet n’gentle whispering to full on larynx shredding she’s the perfect foil for Anthony’s more subtle instrument. Set highlight and current single Reunion became one glorious sing along this evening, the kind of truly anthemic moment that Coldplay would sell their souls for, and if I’d had a glow stick (thankfully for all concerned I didn’t), I’d have been waving it in the air like a nut job. Not sure what the last number of the encore was called but it wouldn’t have been out of place on a Justified Ancients of Mu Mu/KLF album. A suitably lively ending for an unexpectedly euphoric show. Quelle surprise!

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