Menu Subscribe Search



Subscribe for the Latest Music News

Enter your email address below to subscribe to a regular(ish) dose of AAA Backstage goodness direct to your inbox.

Live Review: M83 w/ Japanese Wallpaper @ The Tivoli


You know that moment where you hear a part in a song and it’s so pleasing to your ears that your hair stands on its end and it makes you both happy that you’re privileged enough to hear it but sad because its pleasure is so fleeting. That’s the closest experience I have to describe the two hour aural and visual extravaganza that was M83 at The Tivoli on Saturday night.

The evening started unassumingly with young gun Japanese Wallpaper a.k.a Gabe Strum making an admirable effort to command attention while being surrounded by M83’s dwarfing mechanical stage set up. It was a refreshingly honest set with Strum expertly twiddling his knobs with a accompanying guitarist. There was honesty in Strum’s music that sparkled around the filling room. When Brisbane beauty Airling was brought on stage for latest single Forces there was an air of recognition throughout the hall and the crowd just went nuts for it. An impressive set for an act that was relegated to about an eighth of the stage hopefully in the future we get to see Japanese Wallpaper really spread his wings.


As previously mentioned M83’s set up was something to behold. Metal scaffolding created a sort of technological cage around the band with intricate lighting placed meticulously throughout. As soon as the first power chords of Reunion rang through the hall it was apparent that we weren’t about to just listen to some tunes, this was going to be a full on visual journey. I’m not talking a strobe and a couple of colour changing lights either, this was a sophisticated light show timed perfectly to the music and akin only to that first adrenaline charged trip you took to Infinity when you were eight-years-old.

Blind siding the audience with latest single Do It, Try It up first, Anthony Gonzalez made sure the crowd was revelling in the 1980’s European dance rave/senior prom atmosphere with a simple, French tinged “How are we, Brisbane? Let’s have some fun!”. And boy what fun we did have! The setlist leaned unexpectedly heavily on older tracks with songs like Steve McQueen and Wait, making fans of the band’s 2011 album Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming very happy.

Walkway Blues, the first track written by Jacob Lawler, a multi-instrumentalist that Gonzalez plucked out of internet obscurity in 2011, added some dreamy variation to the hard out dancing action. The heartbreakingly relatable track about rejection is brightened with an aloof combination of subtle saxophone and cosmic synths. Walkway Blues proved that Lawler has some serious songwriting chops.


Although Gonzalez was running the show, the title of MVP for the evening fell firmly on saxophonist Joe Berry. M83 are purveyors of some of the finest saxophone work in modern music and Berry lived up to this legacy beautifully. Guiding the audience through an all out Weather Report style banger during stand out track Road Blasters this was but the tip of Berry’s saxy conquer. Well loved track and successful advertising tool Midnight City followed shortly after and as any M83 fan worth their salt would know that the sax solo at the tail end of this song is a doozey. Berry hit every sparkling note of that solo perfectly all the while commanding the audience like he was instilled with the spirit of Bleeding Gums Murphy.

Rounding things out fittingly with the fever dream that is Outro, Gonzalez and his gang drained the last drop of wonder out of the audience. Swelling instruments and swirling lights intertwined to whisk the audience away to a magical land where governments respect the arts and live music can carry on past midnight.

It was so absorbing in fact that as soon as those last notes fell I immediately turned to my friend and stuttered out “It can’t be finished, can it?”. Her expression of euphoria/horror confirmed to me that alas it was over and while we were still trying to collect our jaws from the floor M83 had probably already loaded back onto their spaceship and sped off into the cosmos, ready dazzle some other species.

Check out our Photo Gallery HERE