LIVE: M83 with the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, Phantogram at Hollywood Bowl (9/22/13)
By Jeff Murray; Photo by Garrett Richardson on September 23, 2013
M83 (with the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra), Phantogram
Los Angeles, CA
September 22, 2013
KCRW does a lot of people a lot of favors. Every day the LA radio station pays it forward with its brilliant DJs and awesome music selection, but Sunday night it did us all a big one by hosting Phantogram and M83 at the Hollywood Bowl. The outdoor ampitheater not only seemed to be the perfect venue for the ethereal and expansive sounds of each band, but with M83 being joined by the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, the night was alive with promise.
As the sunset fell behind the Hollywood Hills and the hours of twilight descended, Phantogram took the stage with the perfect ambience for their darkened techno-rock beats. Opening with an unreleased, head rocking self-titled track, the band followed up with past hits “16 Years” and “Mouthful of Diamonds.” The outfit's main duo, Sarah Barthel and Josh Carter, were joined by an additional drummer and programmer/keyboardist who helped to fill the stadium with the band's signature melodramatic tracks, right up until closing with their heavy-handed “When I’m Small.”
But that was only leading to the evening’s main attraction. M83 opened with the epic “In the Cold I’m Standing” and “Intro” where the band was joined by the Bowl’s orchestra and a cascade of choral accompaniment. The French alt-rockers soon jumped back into their notorious concert repertoire, with lead singer Anthony Gonzalez blasting the danceable, crowd-pleasers “Reunion” and “Sitting” before unleashing a haunting rendition of “We Own The Sky” off Saturdays = Youth. When the band stopped half-way through their set to announce a special guest, the crowd was all too thrilled to hear that Medicine’s Brad Laner would help with the next song which happened to be the soft-spoken, piano ballad, “Splendor.”
As expected, the remainder of the evening was magical. With the moon managing to rise just before the encore, every song performed beautifully to gorgeous visual displays. As the band’s club-banging finale “Coulours” led the crowd into a sold-out 18,000 person dance party, the whole universe seemed to nod in agreement that M83 was made for this performance, leaving us with only one thing left to say: thank you KCRW, but please, may we have some more?