Wayne Posner / Kabik Photo Group
Monday, April 18, 2016 | 11:04 p.m.
Many synth-driven, dream-steeped pop bands spend their entire careers futilely grappling with how to translate the sonic expanse of their recorded output into a live setting.
If anything, the genre’s pre-eminent modern entry, French musical mastermind Anthony Gonzalez’s M83, faces the opposite problem. And that’s not to say anything ill of the project’s illustrious seven albums of material.
It’s just that Gonzalez and his cast of collaborators go from sounding like they’re powered by premium gasoline on record to launched by jet fuel in concert.
M83 treated Las Vegas to a long-overdue propulsion Saturday night at Brooklyn Bowl in the Linq Promenade in a performance scheduled around its appearance at Coachella.
The only thing left to wonder afterward was what took the band 15 years before visiting the valley for the first time for a full-on concert (M83 was at the Hard Rock Hotel in 2012 for a club set) because the grandiosity of its style fit perfectly on the Strip, the lusciousness accentuated by neon lights.
M83 quite literally moved everyone in attendance — including the band members themselves. In the middle of the set, Gonzalez stepped away from his soundboard and spun in so many circles during the bridge of “Laser Gun” that it was a minor athletic feat he didn’t fall over.
He needed that oomph to keep up with lead guitarist Jordan Lawlor, who raged with punk rock-type fervor, and drummer Loic Maurin, whose approach consisted of little finesse. Not that Gonzalez attempted to outdo his latest set of bandmates.
On the contrary, two of the more memorable songs — including “Laser Gun” — came when Gonzalez ceded control to guest vocalist Mai Lin. Her voice sounded particularly angelic backed by Kaela Sinclair, a Dallas-based singer and keyboardist Gonzalez found online before this tour to take over for longtime member Morgan Kibby.
Sinclair helped ignite the entire venue into a dance party during the punchy “OK Pal.” Moments later, several members of the audience wrapped their arms around one another as M83 morphed into the ballad “Wait.”
Opening act Yacht didn’t elicit the same type of sprawling movement from the crowd, but it felt like the reticence was more a product of unfamiliarity than disinterest.
The trio from Portland recognized the burden that comes with standing out while performing its thriving electro-pop and demolished it with extraordinary stage presence.
Yacht demonstrated how it has maintained a 13-year career, with lead vocalist Claire Evans entertaining through methods ranging from answering and singing into a corded telephone to coming down to the barricade to dance alongside fans.
Jona Bechtolt and Rob Kieswetter, who split guitar and synthesizer duties, swirled and leapt to alternating sides of Evans. “Psychic City” seemed to win over the majority of attendees as the catchy closer to the 30-minute set.
Even those unconvinced couldn’t have left at the end of the evening without the feeling of getting their money’s worth because of the marvel M83 staged.
Any gripes with the headliners are of the bit variety, but they could have enhanced the experience in a couple ways. M83 could have expanded slightly beyond the 75 minutes it played, conceivably by dipping more into a rich back catalog.
With the setlist heavily slanted toward its two most recent albums “Junk” and “Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming,” M83 dusted off only two tracks more than 4 years old. The structure also surfaced as somewhat odd with the group exiting the stage after less than an hour, at the conclusion of “Midnight City.”
A five-song encore could never match the concert’s overpowering peak reached with Ian Young’s saxophone solo during the band’s breakthrough hit. Then again, perhaps the band feared continuing to soar with such energy would cause a short circuit and burn out the wall of LED bulbs flashing at the back of the stage.
M83 really produced that level of electricity at Brooklyn Bowl.
Case Keefer is the Las Vegas Sun’s assistant sports editor and an avid music fan.