Published Sep 14, 2011There was no doubt that this night was all about Australian electro-pop. Kicking off the Sound Academy show, Melbourne's Miami Horror powered through a set of synth-heavy songs that channelled the dance-y influences of Prince and Michael Jackson. Despite the venue still being half-empty, they got the crowd clapping along and dancing for their kind-of hit "Sometimes," as frontman Benjamin Plant wiggled around the stage.
Then came Empire of the Sun. Originally the creation of Luke Steele and Nick Littlemore, the Australian duo haven't released an album since their 2008 debut Walking on a Dream -- a silence one might attribute to Littlemore's previous disappearance. But what the group lacked in new material, Steele more than made up for with his stage show.
From the moment he emerged from behind a billowing curtain of smoke, adorned in a getup fit for a space king, it was tricky to know where to look. Behind Steele's podium in the middle of the stage was a giant screen projecting images of galaxies far, far away. But it was Steele's backup dancers that really grabbed attention. Think the love child of Beyoncé's "Single Ladies" dancers and Ziggy Stardust. The numerous costume changes gave the audience an opportunity to see the four girls outfitted as everything from marlins to geishas.
Empire of the Sun opened with "Standing on the Shore" and played through a good number of the tracks off their debut. Although it wasn't the most exciting set list, primarily due to the band's small back catalogue, Luke Steele is an undeniably great showman. Towards the end of the evening he even brought his two-year-old daughter Sunny Tiger onstage to say hey.
Ending the set with a good old-fashioned guitar smash, the gang returned for a one-song encore of 2008 hit "Walking on a Dream" to thunderous applause and fanatical dancing. While music seemed to take a bit of a backseat to stage antics, the concert was certainly entertaining. More importantly, everyone who was there now knows what it would look like to do shrooms in outer space.
To see Exclaim!'s Empire of the Sun photo gallery, courtesy of Fil ZuZarte, head here.