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Review Sat Nov 22 2008

Review: M83 & School of Seven Bells @ Bottom Lounge, 11/21

The most difficult thing to write objectively about is the followup to a transcendental experience. Actually, it's often difficult to simply experience the followup objectively. When you're blown away by a performance attended on a whim, how do you approach seeing the act a second time with expectations in place? You have to lower the bar because, even if it's just as good as the first time, it's not going to feel as profound. (Don't you wish you could listen to your favorite albums for the first time again?)

Fortunately, School of Seven Bells did a pretty good job of lowering the bar for the night by themselves. Their drum machine-fueled laptop pop never veered far from the base set at the beginning of the evening. Former On! Air! Library! twins Claudia and Alley Deheza's harmonizing vocals were muddled with the keyboards in a repetitive formula that works much better in the studio than on the stage. And ex-Secret Machine Benjamin Curtis' contributions on guitar seemed to be totally drowned out when he strayed from simple riffing. Either the trio read the audience's disinterest or didn't have much to play because they cut out at 35 minutes.

At first, it appeared that M83 would continue the evening in the same manner. Once they dragged a little bit, they found their groove and didn't let it go the rest of the night. Anthony Gonzalez and company drew some tunes from old albums, but, with exceptions like "Run Into Flowers" and "Don't Save Us from the Flames", it was the selections from this year's Saturdays = Youth that were highlights. Accessible singles "Graveyard Girl" and "Kim & Jessie" early and "We Own the Sky" and a guitar-driven "Couleurs" as the encore received big applauses and sounded fresh with arrangements slightly different than those found on the album. Bottom Lounge's soundsystem continues to impress with its crispness, but it wouldn't have the opportunity to do such if it weren't for bands bringing their A game.

 
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Feature Thu Dec 31 2015

Our Final Transmission Days

By The Gapers Block Transmission Staff

Transmission staffers share their most cherished memories and moments while writing for Gapers Block.

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