Written by John Maniace

Photography by Jacob Ireland


I couldn’t tell if I was floating or drowning. 

Artificial fog settled on the stage on a murky Sunday night in Allston. Outside the sky was barely visible, but inside light could be seen jumping off of the synths. A system that orbited around the center of the thousands in attendance. M83 created their own atmosphere at Roadrunner and mesmerized the crowd for an hour and a half. 

Anthony Gonzales knelt before his effects box, twisting knobs and sliding phasers to create custom pads to fill out the soundscape. On one of the synths, Kaela Sinclair’s rainbow hair and white overalls popped through the white fog balancing on the stage. The crunch of the snare was delivered by a shirtless Loic Maurin, hidden by the clouds of fog, only revealed by the pounding set. 


They opened with “Water Deep,” off the band’s newest album, “Fantasy.” Jacob, my friend, and photographer, was up in the pit. I was raising my arms and running my arms through my hair, letting loose at the end of the semester. At that moment, I never could have imagined how the night would progress. 

Heart pulsing, vision clearing, and the present burning, the group continued with songs off their new album including, “Ocean’s Niagara,” and “Us and the Rest.” Despite the melancholic feel of the “Amnesia,” off of the studio album, the kick kept the energy pulsing when it was performed live.  

We made our way up to the balcony after he finished up in the pit. As we walked, songs from “Dead Cities, Red Seas, and Lost Ghosts,” were juxtaposed with the newest album. Noise and Run into Flowers were my two highlights, considering that they came out 20 years ago. MY imagination was under an ethereal blanket of harmony. Kaela Sinclair’s angelic vocals seeped through my skin during Solitude. It carried through the air so softly and helped lift the guitar solo from Gonzales that sounded like a mix of a Juno and a bit crusher. He played a melody that was drowned out by the synths and drums, and not as solo as it is in the studio version. 

From up top, the crowd swayed, looking rather subdued. The biggest disappointment from the show had to have been the lack of dancing, but it was understandable for the subjective emotional trip that was created for every listener. Streams ran down faces for the song “My Tears Are Becoming a Sea.” An apt climax that set up an energetic encore, which the crowd was ecstatic for.

The artists responded with “Midnight City,” which was met with the highest energy in the room during the entire show. The point-and-shoot camera in my left pocket couldn’t wind fast enough to capture the brief moments of spotlights put on Gonzales, but it did capture Joe Berry ripping the saxophone apart. “Mirror” and “Outro,” finished the set, to my disappointment. “I would be fine listening to this for the next 2 hours,” yelled Jacob to me over the stack of 10 speakers to our right. The hairs on my back stood up and the lids of my eyes closed. My 8 a.m. media law class the next morning was a distant moment. M83 orchestrated the present, putting the mind at bay from the past and the future.