Where were all the teenagers? That was my first thought as I looked around the crowd at the M83 show at Vega last night. On the surface, M83 is an electro-pop group with an 80s sound whose catchy hooks could easily be the soundtrack to long summer holidays with no responsibility – a time of young love and freedom and an antidote to the cynicism and competitiveness of adult life.
But the people who turned out were, well, rather old. Sure, there were young women in floral dresses and boys in white vests and beanies bearing the first brave attempts at facial hair. But most were in their late twenties and thirties. Some might have even been old enough to be parents of the kid talking about a magical frog on the track ‘Raconte-Moi Une Histoire’ from M83’s latest album Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming – the album that has projected them into the mainstream after the enormous popularity of the single ‘Midnight City’.
M83 is the stage name of Frenchman Anthony Gonzalez. With him on stage was a female keyboardist, a drummer and a moppy-haired multi-instrumentalist. Together they played a brand of sophisticated electro-pop characterised by dreamy high-pitched vocals, atmospheric synths and 80s slap bass.
The show opened with the hair-raising first track of the new album, the imaginatively titled ‘Intro’, dropping ‘Midnight City’ halfway through, and ended with Gonzalez crowd surfing before returning to the stage to take the bows.
And it was a show – from what I could glimpse, the four musicians seemed to be playing for themselves, convulsing to and fro in the beat, just giving it all the energy they could muster. From beginning to end, hands in the crowd were flung skywards and faces were bathed in a light-show of purples and blues as the crowd buzzed with the fix they had sought – a dose of the teenage euphoria that slipped away as adulthood set in.
The show ended abruptly after a mere hour and a half. I was left thinking, “Wow, that was quick! Come back, I’m not done with you yet!” – a similar thought the adults in the crowd will be having today as they sit at their desks, gazing at their monitors, sighing collectively at the reminder that their childhoods were well and truly over.