Live: M83 Owns the Room

M83 mastermind Anthony Gonzalez used to be such a shy boy.

It was notable in his performances (he's admitted in interviews that he used to hide behind his stacks of keyboards while on stage) and in the records he made. When he wasn't ceding singing duties to guest vocalists or keyboard player Morgan Kibby, he was covering his voice in as much echoing haze as possible so he sounded more like one of his somnolent synthesizer waves and less like a human.

Based on the French group's stop at Terminal 5 last night, confidence is not a problem anymore. Gonzalez ventured far beyond the keyboard stacks Thursday night, kneeling down while taking a guitar solo, dancing up on Kibby during an extend disco breakdown on "Fall" and even busted out a few hip gyrations during "Midnight City."

Ah, "Midnight City." What a difference writing a hit single can have on a person. The pulsating ode to getting the heck out of here stomped all over the blogs, critics' lists and very probably your iPod last year. Perhaps the most epic thing Gonzalez has yet written (and certainly the most danceable), the song found him singing directly about his longings and fears, no dreamwave filter necessary. 

That confidence and directness spilled over to the accompanying album Hurry Up, We're Dreaming and has seeped into his stage persona. Even when he wasn't walking around with a "yeah I wrote a generation anthem" strut, his band sounded confident and assured, giving the "oh-ohs" in "Reunion" or the extended sinewave break in "Coleurs" an extra oomph.

He was careful not to overwhelm the delicate breakdown in "We Own the Sky" or add any excess layers to perfect new wave homages like "Graveyard Girl," but there was a sense on stage that Gonzalez was finally willing to stand behind the private fears and hopes he has been revealing for so long.

He still traffics in dreams, but he's not hiding in them anymore. 

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