It’s a rare treat to see two such talented electronic music bands on one night, and School of Seven Bells and M83 proved to be a great combination in terms of playing their unique styles of sonically powerful music and pleasing the packed Los Angeles crowd. Not everyone can easily connect with such complex and intricately produced layers of instrumentally dominant songs, as a few audience members left early due to boredom. Those unfortunate souls missed out on a full and amazing set of over 2 hours by M83, one of France’s finest exports.
School of Seven Bells is a three-piece band of two guitarists and a keyboard player backed by a drum machine, but that doesn’t limit the range and quality of their sound. The band consists of Ben Curtis (ex-Secret Machines) and pretty twin sisters Claudia and Alejandra Deheza (formerly of On!Air!Library!), whose operatic vocal harmonies (reminiscent of artists like Jem and Dot Allison) provide the perfect emotional counterpart to the band’s uplifting and gorgeous music.
Their album Alpinisms is highly recommended for those with in an interest in music with a more refined quality than most electronic acts. There were a few obnoxious audience members who were yelling out during the School of Seven Bells’ set, but that didn’t take away too much from the music and the momentum produced by the quality of their songs. Highlights of the set were the emotional and liltingly beautiful song “Half Asleep” and the hypnotic “Iamundernodisguise.”
After the excellent set by School of Seven Bells, it was hard to imagine that M83 could really top it. Though they still managed to by mixing their dirge-like synth-filled instrumentals with the more radio friendly songs from their fifth and current album Saturdays=Youth. The fact that M83 have a live drummer allows for a more dynamic sound than their opener, though they also have several more albums behind them.
M83 opened their cinematic and epic set with “Run into Flowers” from their second album Dead Cities, Red Seas & Lost Ghosts (2003). They played many songs from their 2005 album Before The Dawn Heals Us, including “Asterick,” parts of “Moonchild” and live favorites “Teen Angst” and “Don’t Save Us From The Flames,” as well as the dramatic instrumental “A Guitar and a Heart,” which they played before their encore.
Of course, M83 played many tracks from Saturdays=Youth, including their throwback to 80’s film soundtracks, “Kim & Jessie,” and the singles “We Own The Sky” and “Graveyard Girl.” For the song “The Skin of the Night,” the female singer of the band sang in a breathy falsetto accompanied by Anthony Gonzales’ quiet vocals. The encore was more like a rave than a concert with the dance-inducing techno track “Couleurs.”
01 – Run Into Flowers
02 – Asterisk
03 – Moon Child
04 – Kim & Jessie
05 – We Own The Sky
06 – Graveyard Girl
07 – Gone
08 – Teen Angst
09 – Highway Of Endless Dreams
10 – Don’t Save Us From The Flames
11 – Skin Of The Night
12 – A Guitar And A Heart
13 – Couleurs