Empire of the Sun at the Roundhouse
Psychedelic spacesuits, synchronised intergalactic angels and a mirage of hallucinogenic images matched to the sounds of electronic pop: it could only be the start of an Empire of the Sun show.
Known for their eccentric visual aesthetics and ambiguous musical influences, frontman Luke Steele and his partner Nick Littlemore are an Australian electronic pop duo who reached critical acclaim back in 2008 with their single Walking on a Dream. Touring in the UK for the first time since 2013 they are promoting their new album Two Vines, which is set for release on 28th October 2016.
Empire of the Sun are all about their visuals, and this gig was no different. Steele, who is the live performer of the duo, comes out garbed in his illustrious album artwork headdress accompanied by four dancers, equally eccentrically attired in shiny gold intergalactic suits. Throughout the performance the dancers change into a variety of similarly stunning and bizarre costumes, their synced movements against a backdrop of swirling colours and pulsating tracks mesmerising the audience. It’s truly an acid trip like no other. For all the costume changes, stand outs have to be the all-white with papal hats, neon-lit guitar props and the translucent winged suits twirling to the flaring guitar notes.
Playing a variety of tracks from their repertoire, Steele’s voice borders between irritatingly whiney and fantastical. His vocals are difficult to pick up and a live gig only accentuates the problem. In truth the visuals take precedent here and it doesn’t so much feel like a concert but a theatrical display. Fan favourites We Are the People, Walking on a Dream and High and Low from the new album were met with the best reactions, but the atmosphere maintained its high throughout. Steele has been known to smash up guitars in previous gigs, and once again, breaks not one, not two, but three guitars in a frenzied borderline neurotic display. It’s not entirely necessary, and a bit frivolous, but performers will be performers.
Photos: Filippo L’Astorina
For further information about Empire of the Sun visit here.
Watch the trailer for High and Low here: