I went back and forth on whether to treat these bands separately or together. Both of them played before The Killers, so I saw them together, but going to see the Rejects led to five separate posts and a screenplay. In this case, there are similarities in some ways where it makes sense to treat them together, which I shall now proceed to explain with much guilt.
Let me be clear, I enjoyed them both, and would totally be fine with either of them opening up for another band at some point. They did a good job, I felt personally engaged, they had the audience with them, and it was completely fine. I initially thought I would just have a three-band review week. Then I started listening to their discographies.
This is actually an interesting thing, because I can enjoy a band in performance where listening to them in other forms drives me crazy, and I wouldn’t have necessarily guessed that. Perhaps there is something about a live situation where matters of personal taste are less important. That’s really kind of cool. So with no personal rancor at all, M83 and Tegan and Sara both are not my thing.
I know they are other people’s things. While I was wrapping up listening to M83, someone tweeted about one of their songs, “Midnight City”. His exact words about it were”nomnom”, which is pretty high praise, so I listened to it again, and I could kind of get why he would like that specific one, and it would stand out more, but in general, none of them did stand out to me. I could tell some had been played at the concert when I was listening, but then they left my head again, leaving me with nothing but vague annoyance. So if anyone wants to tell me a Tegan and Sara song that they love, I will give it another listen, but I don’t have high expectations.
Wikipedia has been fun again for looking up both bands. The common link between the two seems to be synth pop, and indie also came up for both, but there were many new terms that came up with M83, including shoegaze, dream pop, and indietronica. Synth pop may make the most sense, as synthesizers did play an important part there and, well, it didn’t feel like rock to me. Actually, I had been thinking it was almost like ambient music, and they did use that term for M83 also.
Let me back up a bit to before the concert. I had never heard of M83. I had heard of Tegan and Sara, but I didn’t know any of their songs. On hearing the name, my first thought is always Tevin Campbell, of “Round and Round” fame. Then I realize the names do not sound that much alike, and in a case of horrible stereotyping that shows that I am a bad person, think that maybe they will sound somewhat like Indigo Girls. The truth is somewhere in between. I felt like there was a bit of the folksy/hippie vibe of the Indigo Girls, but instead of their mellow harmonies, it was a bit higher-pitched and synthetic, leaning more towards Campbell in that way.
Actually, that higher pitch may have been part of my problem. My dog left the room, and he stayed all the way through my singing my Non-Annoying Love Songs playlist. I don’t think that’s a vocal quality issue, but dogs are sensitve to the higher register, and possibly so am I. At one point I found Tegan and Sara reminiscent of the Cranberries, at least on “Dreams”, but I don’t really listen to the Cranberries either.
Again, this didn’t really bother me at the concert, and I have to say that as people they were delightful. They were so polite and appreciative. They did mention being from Canada at one point, but we had already figured that out. So I wish them well, but they are not for me.
With M83, it was almost more performance art than a concert. Perhaps that is one reason that the music was less of an issue, because it was almost superfluous. They did shoegaze a little, though apparently that is supposed to have more guitars (which would have been nice). There was a lot of dancing around and banging on things, which was cool. The light setup was interesting. They had these light stacks where I don’t know if they were actually connected to the bass or treble, but it could have been, and I liked that. If I were a DJ, I could see using something similar.
Karen leaned over to me and said “Now is the time on Sprockets when we dance”, and she was right, except, and she said this too, they weren’t depressed enough. They were not all in black and gaunt, so we figured they were not German. Karen thought maybe Belgian, but actually they are French, from Antibes. It works.
Again, I would totally willingly watch them again with a band I really wanted to see, and I hope they do well, because there are people who like that, and I am all for people finding their audience, even if I do not belong in the equation. But I’m not bringing them up anymore. You know, they had a real opportunity on “Bruits de Train”. They could have put some “chugga-chugga-chugga-chugga” in it, and I was so hoping for something like that. I heard no train noise whatsoever. But hey, it’s over, the review is done, the sting is gone.It’s a good thing we resolved my negative review issues yesterday.