It’s a gorgeous, balmy evening, but I admit that while watching acts on this absurdly enormous, impersonal stage I feel kind of dirty. I really do know how smugly pretentious it sounds, but I’m supposed to be bringing you the fringe; the interesting stuff you might not have heard of, or the stuff you’ve heard of but not understood, not the guys who’re already popular.
This feels like drinking lager at a beer festival. But here’s why it’s happening:
I first came across M83 on a mix-tape given to me by an ex nearly ten years ago, with a great track called A Guitar and a Heart.
I loved the Mogwai-esque post-rock aspect to it, and adored that the band name was a galaxy, but felt slightly colder about some other stuff I found online. I liked it, but I didn’t quite buy the album. Interesting though, I thought, watch them.
Fast-forward a decade and M83 (or Anthony Gonzalez and chums), have reinvented themselves as a hugely successful synth pop act. Midnight City broke decisively into the mainstream, kicking down the door on the way in, and not much seems to have changed since.
So I wonder how most of this crowd are looking at this performance. Probably as a super-successful French electronica act, and not a post-rock group gone pop. I’m hoping for something a bit subversive; maybe some sort of extended post-prog extension of Wait? That’d be nice.
It’s a couple of tracks in when I realise the full horror of what’s happened. Gonzalez is channelling the evil spirit of Jean-Michel Jarre! There are moments when that lovely post-rock build is recognisable, but the influence of Old Jar-head is unmistakable.
How? How has someone with so little relevance (or talent) managed to infiltrate today’s chart so perniciously? There’s no way something like this could happen, is there? Is there?
Well, I suppose there is this generation’s equivalent of a zombie plague; the smothering tide of eighties fetishism. But surely even that evil wouldn’t go so far?
Apparently it would.
Goodbye forever M83!