On a brisk Thursday evening, October 13, at The Fillmore Philadelphia, ‘M83’, with support from ‘Shura’, took a willing audience on a musical escapade that spanned all the way back from the eighties up through present day. The synthetic sound of both groups melded perfectly together, creating a seamless evening of music and entertainment.
Starting the night off was the synthpop group Shura. Two members walked onstage and took their places, but one person was missing: the lead singer. Aleksandra Lilah Denton, better known as Shura, was standing just offstage and as the other two members played a dramatic introduction, until eventually she sauntered onto the stage, red cup in hand. She hit a button on her synthesizer and rocked the song into full motion, officially starting the show. Whether her cup contained water, tea, or some form of alcoholic beverage, she took swigs from it between verses and her voice remained consistently just as beautiful from song to song. As Shura shyly addressed the audience between songs, she revealed that this was their first time performing in Philadelphia, stating that we had taken her Philadelphia performance virginity. So we’ve got that going for us.
Their set progressed and one word came to mind as I listened to their performance: ethereal. All of the electronic instruments mixed with Shura’s soft and warm voice created a beautiful result that was extremely unusual. They continued to play songs from their album that was just released this past July, ending on White Light; a song which built-in volume and passion, leading to an incredibly climactic ending which involved Shura purposefully knocking her synthesizer to the ground. While Shura came across as softly spoken during the show, this finale showed that she was a force to be reckoned with.
The energy in the venue remained high as the stage transitioned for M83, and a backdrop of both twinkling and revolving lights was revealed. The hues of the lights just so happened to match their album cover for “Hurry Up We’re Dreaming”, with glistening blues, pinks, and purples. The floor of the Fillmore began to completely fill with eager attendees, and finally M83 took to the stage. The band members fell into place, and I personally couldn’t help but notice their guitar player’s long curly hair flowing in a breeze that seemed to come from a source onstage.
Throughout the entire night M83 had incredible control of the energy of the crowd, positioning their song order so that there was an ebb and flow of fast paced songs and slow melodic ballads. There was a gradual buildup to a climax of musical momentum, then they would suddenly bring the audience back down in energy to play something softer. Everyone present was singing, dancing, and jumping around to the electronic beat, when “Wait” began to play, and the dynamic of the audience changed. There was suddenly a more emotional atmosphere, and people embraced, hugs were had, and we only cried a little bit to the beautiful song that was being performed. M83 then brought the energy right back up, and each member of the band had their time to shine throughout the show, each singing or having a solo of some sort. Towards the end of the show, the lights went out, and the first notes of their most popular song played, and the crowd exploded with excitement as Midnight City began. Their saxophone player slid to the front of the stage wearing a cheetah print robe and put every ounce of energy he had into his solo. It was clear that the crowd has waited the entire night to hear this song live, and no one was disappointed. The rest of the performance was just as amazing as everything before it, and the night as a whole can be described shortly and sweetly: it was incredibly fun.
Both M83 and Shura kept the audience engaged and excited about their music throughout the night and made sure that everyone there was having a fantastic time. I hope that Shura had as good of a time as we did and will perform in Philadelphia for a second time, and I eagerly await the next time M83 returns to our city. This show is definitely not one that I will forget soon.
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[Photos by: Josh Campbell Photography]
[Article by Emily Holmquist]
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