Six albums and more than 10 years after M83 started making music, the group made its Detroit debut Saturday night at the Majestic Theatre. The sold-out 80-minute show capitalized on M83′s enormous, cinematic soundscapes and was rich with the gorgeous, synth-heavy sound that has become the group’s hallmark.
The show opened with the alien from the artwork of the group’s 2011 breakthrough album, “Hurry Up We’re Dreaming,” raising its arms to the audience — fitting, since the stage’s backdrop was soon lit up to look like a sky full of stars. The four-piece group, fronted by M83 mastermind Anthony Gonzalez, launched into “Intro,” the opening track from “Hurry Up,” and it sounded as epic as it did on record, with its simmering synths lacerated by blips of sound sent down from the heavens.
The magic of M83, its raison d’être, is the utter hugeness of its sound, and they replicated it expertly live. Gonzalez is a perfectionist, meticulously crafting the group’s dynamic sonics, and the atmospherics Saturday matched those on M83′s albums, especially during “Reunion” and M83′s breakout hit, “Midnight City.” The stage was set up was quaint, with a small handful of lights accented by a few roaming spotlights, but the sound could have fulled a stadium. It was sometimes hard to believe it was only coming from four people.
The setlist could have gone much deeper, however, and 80 minutes seemed short for a band with so much material to cull from. But there are worse crimes to commit than leaving a crowd wanting more. Besides, it’s rare a concert lives up to its billing, but Saturday’s show was truly majestic.