Tag Archives: live

Oh Wonder – Livewire

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Bit of quick news for you beautiful people. London-based electronic, synth-pop duo Oh Wonder have just released the video for ‘Livewire’, the ninth installment of their twelve-month long debut project.  ‘Livewire’ is the first single of the project to include a video, the clip was directed by Mike Lee Thomas (Enter Shikari, We The Wild and Fossil Collective) who is best know for his cinematic, stripped back style blending the lines between his graphic, photography and film work.

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Sly Fox Will Be The Home Of Sydney’s Latest Indie Club

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…And they’ll be kicking it off with a bloody brilliant line-up on Friday the 24th of April. Some of Sydney’s finest local indie acts will be gracing the stage at Enmore’s Sly Fox  on the debut of music PR Agency Rare Finds’ indie night. Pop afficionados Jenny Broke The Window are the headlining act for this first instalment, dishing out their seriously sick brand of happy-go-lucky, old-school tunes. If that wasn’t enough for you, also on the bill we’ll see locals Food Court, who nailed a cool little set supporting Catfish And The Bottlemen earlier this year, as well as Hedge Fund and Winston Surfshirt, with their slick brand of seasoned, funk-like indie.

The Rare Finds night is set to showcase a curated line-up of Australia’s most-promising emerging talent on the last Friday of each month. Rare Finds has been operating since 2011, with some of the coolest talent to hit Australia in the last few years, including personal favourites The Griswolds as well as Millions. The show is FREE, so there’s no reason not to go…

FRIDAY APRIL 24 | THE SLY FOX, ENMORE NSW
Jenny Broke The Window, Food Court, Hedge Fund, Winston Surfshirt
Free Entry | 8pm

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LIVE REVIEW: SOHN + KLO @ Oxford Art Factory, Sydney (29.01.15)

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This article first appeared on The AU Review.

Promotional material for SOHN’s current visit to Australia have mostly led with the whole London born / Vienna based thing, and it’s clear why. The talented multi-instrumentalist’s debut album Tremorswas unique and brilliant, even ground-breaking in a way, in that it took that foundation of a very British sounding electronic indie and swirled it together with an inherently European influence to create something fans hadn’t quite heard before.

His sweet, smooth vocal range and eccentric musical stylings shot straight into the hearts of a diverse range of music fans worldwide and led to sold out shows in Melbourne during his last Aussie expedition. The man is back in the country to play Laneway Festival, and on Thursday he took a detour in Sydney to give the fans a more intimate show at the Oxford Art Factory.

Melbourne natives Klo hit the stage in Sydney for the first time as the crowd began to trickle in. In fact, according to vocalist Chloe Kaul it was only their sixth live performance of all time, if you could believe. They warmed up the middle part of the evening with smooth samples and wispy dream-pop vocals. Synth scattered in and out of the intro track, setting the foundation for a strong set. Their sound in the early parts sounded something liken to indie blog favourites Noble Oak or even Keep Shelly In Athens. Their speedy, melodic meshing of drum and bass absolutely killed it. While their banter was of the shy-guy kind, the duo took to each track with masterful precision, playing a tight set full of catchy beats and an inherent cool-ness that could’ve had the average punter mistaking them for a headlining act, and justifiably so.

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The hooded figure of SOHN appeared, applauding the crowd as he kicked his headliner show off with one of the older tracks, “Warnings”. Deep, stormy grumblings, emotional bass tones and transcendent synth quickly filled the room like a hypothetical drip-tank, step by little step engulfing our ears and minds as the light show flourished around the centre figure. Sweet indie mixed with a sort of R ’n B vocal styling. It’s the kind of futuristic scene I’d imagine would go solid paired up with virtual reality goggles and SOHN (real name Christopher Taylor) played to it well, morphing the Oxford Art Factory into a futuristic theme park of sight and sound.

More melancholy tunes filled the factory floor with the latest single in the arsenal, “The Chase”, and it was clear from the beginning that SOHN has legit the most spot on vocals I’ve ever heard. This kind of performance deserves to be heard somewhere like the Opera House. It’s like, sit down, listen, fucking appreciate. That cavernous, sinking digital work and elevating melodies meshed together like long lost friends. “Tremors” began in the third spot like an old fairy tale, with spotlights fighting for the figure at the centre, an emotional rendition of the title track from his debut album picked up beat and had the crowd swaying and feeling these tunes with honesty.

After a bit of friendly banter, a brooding version of “Veto” played out with dangerous vibes. With the instrumentalist firmly at the front, we got back down to business, and that’s really what he was best at. Churning out perfection with every tune, every note and every tone in his voice, exactly on point. Innocently appreciative beforehand, the crowd stood to attention as “Bloodflows” began to play. The slow, minimalist intro guided by the now rose light show morphed into a furious race to the outdo, accelerated by strobes to pair with the emotion of the tune, blitzing and awe inspiring halfway point. “Tempest” is another one of his more minimalistic outings, in a similar vein to something like Imogen Heap, requiring solid stand-alone vocals. At several points during the rendition the crowd erupted into applause at the simple fact that it was unbelievable how much he just kept nailing line after line.

“Artifice” was a personal favourite of mine, kicking into gear after some of the more moody tunes, firing off with hardly any warning, a simple “Are you guys ready?” from the man at the front and we’re straight into it. Live, this one just transcends every expectation. It’s catchy, emotional, melodic and features electronics at their best. I gotta tell you guys, you can’t beat it. You just can’t.

With fleeting synth and a sweater down, SOHN finished up with “Lessons”, swaying back and forth and feeding off the crowd who were obviously impressed. The track, which spun like a ferris wheel, slipped up and down with a harsh robotic feel. When the breakdown came the whole factory floor were clapping in unison on the beat to take it out. The old fake goodnight scheme was pulled as always and they were back in an instant with their single “The Wheel” and it’s clear why they left the best until last. It’s a beautifully static track that is just mountainous when played live. Uniquely angelic vocals with fluttering falsetto once again permeated the final outing in Sydney’s Oxford Art Factory.

He’s been pegged as a musical virtuoso. And I’ll be honest, from the album recorded, I kind of got it, but I didn’t get it. After seeing this act live, it’s crystal. Fuck cleanliness, SOHN is next to godliness.

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LIVE REVIEW: The 1975 & Circa Waves – Hordern Pavilion, Sydney (16.01.15)

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This article first appeared on The AU Review.

It had been a long time since I’d attended a show at the Hordern Pavilion, and I didn’t expect the big return to be for such an oddly mixed bill – by arena standards at least. A massive turnout at the Enmore in 2014, and one sold out show at the Hordern “forced” Manchester rockers The 1975 to extend the invitation to another Hordern-load of fans, with their friends Circa Waves tagging along for the ride.

So here I was, heading to watch two acts that were both experiencing a very rapid-fire rise to fame in the past year and were having to adapt quickly, crafting entertaining shows and touring incessantly while trying to continue the quality of songwriting for upcoming releases. The result, the sweatiest and most inspiring gig I’ve ever seen at the Hordern.

It would be appropriate to say that Circa Waves are all business. A series of short, sharp and frenzied tracks with streaks of likability set a framework to their set and they nailed it in a sinch. “Young Chasers” was the first out the gate and got the crowd warmed up, running riot from beginning to end. A sly spasm of British brilliance that paved the way for a raucous set. The last time I saw the Liverpool lads in Australia, it was the day after the 2014 Splendour in the Grass, playing to a humble crowd of loyal yet justifiably weary punters in Newtown, and the transition to an arena gig is a big step in Australian terms. There is none that could have translated better than Circa Waves brand of fast paced and dirty brit-pop.

The new single “Fossils” provided one of the more classic sounding brit-pop tracks, with hooks-a-plenty and a sort of bravado that really riled up the crowd. After that, the early stages of the night was theirs for the taking. Although most of the tracks had the same gritty stamp on it, they still managed to push through a unique set. “So Long” had crowd members turning around surprised and mouthing, “I know this song!” They then slowed things down with “Talking Out Loud” for a sweet change of pace, packed with emotion and some brilliant minor changes that built on their version of a rock ballad.

Circa Waves came in the same way they went out, honest and humble. Getting the job done with Triple J favourite “Stuck In My Teeth” and “Get Away”, giving us a quick snapshot of a band that should be on everybody’s watch list in 2015. The fans and newcomers fed off it. After all, there’s nothing better than supporting the underdog, and you’re hard stretched to find a more deserved act than this.

A crafty light show introduced the headlining band like a black and white photograph, with singer Matt Healey twirling up front and centre. The immediate impression was that the frontman has this hazy swagger about him that measures up to something like the pop version of Pete Doherty. With a slick bottle of vino in hand, The 1975 opened with “The City”, as the crowd went absolutely insane from the get go. Early on, sleeker urbanised tracks like “Milk” and “M.O.N.E.Y” extended the ethereal sounding playlist, bolstering their songwriting creds outside the list of predominantly straight-forward hits, proving to have musicianship that can’t be pegged.

“So Far It’s Alright” was the perfect pop tune, slow enough to keep a cheeky sway happening in the crowd, and catchy enough for even the security guards to pick up a few lyrics halfway through. My personal favourite, “Settle Down” held a bright spot amongst what was an almost flawless set at that point, with every song bouncing in a unique and catchy way. Older tracks like “Pressure” morphed seamlessly into the newer ones like “Heart Out”, keeping the pace and allowing the fair-weather fans to get intwined with their new favourite band.

Matt Healey played the polite host, taking care of the crowd and making sure everyone was hydrated and going well. It was a confusing fatherly visage, coming from a guy whose silhouette came paired with a bottle of wine at the beginning. Holding a ghostly veil over the arena, songs like “Me” showed real emotion, both in the song itself and the performance portrayed by the band. Moments like this provided true clarity to a bunch of guys that have earned their popularity through the closeness they felt with the music and the moments in their lives that influenced the songs. The “blood and sweat” that went into the making of The 1975, for lack of a better description.

“You” was the rock anthem of the night, bringing every hand in the arena to the sky to clap. Standing on top of the drum set, in the silhouette of the lights, the message was clear. Matt Healey is the next big rock-god. “Girls” hit a note with the crowd as they ripped the roof off the Hordern Pavilion at the mere strike of the first chord. This was where we said goodbye to the days of the mosh-pit and hello to the dance-pit as not a single body stood dormant, resembling more of a warehouse rave than an indie-rock gig. Although not much was to be said about the quality of the dancing (well, on my part at least), those sweaty bodies would not give up until the last “goodnight” was said, and to see that sort dedication towards any act is nothing short of inspiring.

The 1975 half-life was a new one for me, and even after they slinked off stage for the fake-goodnight the rest of us continued the dance party, high on the awesome they had left us with. By the time we noticed, they’re back on and kicking into some more tracks. The encore highlights involved their big hits, “Robbers”, “Chocolate” and finally, wrapping things up with “Sex”. These three together, while definitely being among the best tracks played on the night, again showed the diversity of their set hopping from emotive and heartfelt anthem, to bouncing pop tune to the rugged smash-it-out style rock that sealed a steaming close on the night and left us drenched from head to toe and fighting for the cold night air.

For the older tenants in the crowd dancing like idiots, The 1975 were rejuvenating, life-affirming and refreshing. Like being 18 again. For those under drinking age, it was inspiring and tugged a million heartstrings. I loved this band on paper, but live it was a whole other world. They were Songkick’s “Hardest Working Band” of 2014 and it shows in the quality of the performance, the tightness of the musicianship and the familiarity and appeal of the set itself. No matter what your taste, The 1975 are the type of act that makes you look up dazed halfway through the set and think, “God…I should start a band.”

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BESTiE – Asleep On The Bus

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No I didn’t mispell the name, that ‘i’ in BESTiE is in it’s place. Yet another indie band messing with the format, these guys from the greatest city in the world (in my opinion) Vancouver have been rocking this tune for a solid year now but only getting some quality recognition after time. Sometimes music does that to you, you need some time to stew to appreciate.

That said, the first time I heard this it hooked me truly. Despite being from Vancouver, they have a truly British ring to them. That’s a crazy complement too, the Brits have that shit down. The track adds a heavy dose of shambolic good times to something that sounds widely emotive. Simple repetitive guitar parts match up with unique vocals tones, but it’s the brooding bass tunes that bring this tune together strangely enough.

Just recently a bunch of remixes of this track have surfaced to give fans something fresh, and you can check them out on the soundcloud account.

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Sans Parents – Coming Back To You

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Following the disbandment of the epic Australian indie pop outfit Hungry Kids of Hungry, ex-members Kane Mazlin and Ryan Strathie have formed new project Sans Parents with Sydney-based session player/Andy Bull collaborator Alex Bennison. The new three piece have just delivered their debut single ‘Coming Back To You’ which is a crunchy and aggressive number, reminiscing on the days of garage rock.

Originally setting out to assist each other on new post-band solo projects, they discovered that the chemistry displayed through their collaborative efforts sparked a song-writing synergy that has already eventuated in a near-completed album recorded by Brisbane’s Matt Redlich (Ball Park Music, Emma Louise).

Sans Parents will also be announcing shows for 2015 in the coming weeks.

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LIVE REVIEW: The Griswolds, Castlecomer & Sea Legs @ The Metro (11.10.14)

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This post first appeared on The AU Review

The Griswolds are home. These words seemed to be theme of the night as loyal locals packed The Metro on Saturday for the band;s first Sydney show since the release of their debut album Be Impressive. Coming off the back of a mammoth stint around the U.S, in their hometown of Sydney and on lead singer Chris Whitehall’s birthday no less, I’d say there wasn’t a soul in the popular Sydney haunt that could say they weren’t ready to party. As if you needed a band like The Griswolds to give you a reason.

Smooth, luscious pop tunes permeated the start of the night as the show opened with Central Coast rockers Sea Legs. Combining their well known Coastie charm with a slick sense of city living, they blasted through their set with a headliners confidence, showcasing familiar pop drives and sexy, melodramatic breakdowns. Half of this unit used to play with Pepa Knight (of Jinja Safari fame) back in the day, which is just a small hint at their ability to craft brilliant, likeable songs. Although a little more rock ’n roll than Jinja Safari, they lit up the fast building dance floor with the single “Christopher Strong”, catching the eyes of new fans-to-be by the cargo load.

More local pop mayhem ensued with the next act Castlecomer, introducing the set with a pure brand of ethereal, synth laden pop. I wasn’t so familiar with these guys coming into the set, adding to the excitement of discovering such a tight and talented act as they drew and controlled the crowd. Many of their tracks had mixed country vibes peeking through, as vocals bounced deep and falsetto, while speedy guitars struck over the backing of fully formed pop tunes. Their cover of Paul Simon’s “You Can Call Me Al” fucking ripped the roof off. Onlookers grinded and grooved from start to finish, peaking when two of the band members revealed a horn section breakdown to top it all off. If you need one definitive reason to check out Castlecomer, this it it.

At one point in the night I could have gone home happy with that. The support acts were strong, the beer was cold and the fun times were in strong supply. But The Griswolds have build a reputation on smashing expectations and I should have known tonight of all nights was not going to be the one to break that. Shadows of the four band members glistened on the stage before they opened with the catchy, carousel-like “Right On Track”. Fans immediately got into the spirit, jumping onto the shoulders of others, swaying with the heights of the track and screaming the lyrics back at the band. The album opener, “16 Years” followed, speeding up the tempo of the night with conviction. It’s the kind of song that could earn them rock-god status in retrospect. Between the shattering vocals of frontman Chris Whitehall, a smooth breakdown to bridge the feel and the versatile, perfectly placed percussion of Lachie West, it’s one of the standouts on the album and was replicated with precision on the night.

Old favourites like “The Courtship of Summer Preasley” and “Mississippi” were definite party favourites, showing that The Griswolds popularity is not newly found. They’ve been doing this since the get go. The album’s title track, “Be Impressive” broke up the set nicely, calming it down briefly with child chorus samples and backing up again with a sort of urban tropical bravado tanked with wily lead guitars and cheeky vocal melodies. Alongside all their unique brilliance, the crowd shimmered at the introduction of the recently recorded cover of Vance Joy’s “Riptide”, one that properly rivals the original.

Every set has it’s highlight. You know, that song that sticks with you for ages after. No matter how many drinks down, and in spite of set list favouritism, there’s always that one song that you come back to whenever you think of that night. When I say “If You Wanna Stay” was the highlight of the set, I wouldn’t even be doing it justice. The deep bass tones, tumbling percussion and crispy key drives leaked pure energy on the crowd before it, giving off that odd mix of wild passion and no-fucks-given that The Griswolds seriously nail every time.

The lead single, “Beware The Dog” closed the set as predicted, showcasing tropical sways and stop/start meatiness in spades. If you’ve listened to this single before, there’s really no description needed to understand why they’re getting so much hype behind them all over the states at the moment. Teaming up with the crowd, they yelled the lyrics “Now you’re fucking crazy”, like they really meant it. The crowd was absolutely elated and out of control, like they didn’t know what fun was before that song started. They walked off for a brief moment only to peek back out with “Down & Out” and “Heart Of A Lion” to wrap things up in turbo party-mode. It was a well placed track, climaxing perfectly as several band members participated in a booming percussion solo to solidify the true end of the set.

Sadly, the night had to end at some point, and Chris Whitehall had some serious birthday celebrations to carry on to. But the crowd surely gave him and the rest of the crew something to remember. They’ll be scoping the globe in support of Be Impressive, playing to bigger crowds by the minute. When a band of this quality packs a gigantic score of Sydney locals into The Metro for an occasion like this, one thing’s for sure: there’s no place like home.

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LIVE REVIEW: St. Lucia & The Griswolds @ Oxford Arts Factory

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In the week leading up to it, I had listened to countless amounts of jungle-pop and ironed my flamingo shirt ready for the celebrations. Brooklyn based St. Lucia were in town with locals The Griswolds and already you could feel the tropics taking over Sydney. Flashy-coloured Hawaiian shirts draped the crowds lining the streets outside Oxford Art Factory in Sydney’s centre. The sign above the door humbly beckoned punters inside, reading “SUN: St. Lucia + Special Guests”. However, to those who knew what was in store for them, it was the calling card of something pretty special. The mouth of the musical paradise inside.

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At 9pm, locals The Griswolds took the stage in Sydney for the first time in six months, returning from a thunderous raid of the US and SXSW festival where they played an impressive nine shows in four days. There’s something exciting about the live show of a band whose catalogue has yet to be released. It’s like bearing witness to an entire show of teasers, and teased they did. From start to finish, The Griswolds grooved and swayed to their unique brand of indie, building massive amounts of hype for the upcoming album among crowd members that hadn’t yet heard of the quintet. The highlight of the set was only described as “the single from the upcoming album”, and was filled with scuttling guitars, powerful synth and the all-purpose tribal drums you find in most popular songs these days; all the while running alongside that pop undertone that made it so enjoyable. People coming for St Lucia a little early really got their moneys worth in this support as they closed with Heart Of A Lion, bringing the house down with it.

Strangely, the first thing I noticed about St Lucia was the wind machine directed straight at the lead singer’s hair. It was like something out of an 80’s glam rock show. It made it hard to focus on the opening track, The Night Comes Again, but that was short lived by the time they made it into the early days of the set with oldies like Before The Dive, blasting to life with sharp pianos and swaying limbs.

Halfway through is where the band really hit their stride, serving up the jungle jive, Wait For Lovewhich I had previously not paid much attention to on the record. But live, oh how different the situation can be. This was one of my highlights as they brought the Caribbean straight to Sydney city with layers and layers of percussion, tropical synth and choruses filled with love and positive vibes. The crowd met them there with beaming smiles – singing, dancing and jumping about the Oxford Art Factory floor like they were around an open fire in loin cloth.

It didn’t stop there. The band made it to their hit single Elevate, asking the locals to beat their Brisbane counterparts, jumping in the bridge. The whole of the floor bounced in unison as the song concluded and morphed into a cover of Ain’t Nobody by Chaka Khan. This was, without a shadow of a doubt, the best part of the whole night. By god it was a glorious cover. I mean, honestly, I would have paid $45 to see them perform that cover.

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As they finished up it was quite clear a few songs were missing, they would be back in a few seconds. But just as everyone was ready for the members to slink back into an easier groove, they exploded on stage with the first single to effectively reach our Aussie radio stations with success, September. Suddenly, the tropical cyclone of palm-tree like tunes turned into an all out dance party and they finished the night exactly that way.

St Lucia delivered in every way possible. They were fun, musically tight, stylish and just made for a great night out, which is really the point at the end of the day. They play in Melbourne tomorrow night at the Corner Hotel and if you’re close by, I highly recommend you get into those tickets as soon as possible. I wasn’t able to take any decent video last night as usual so here’s a live acoustic version of my favourite song from the night, Wait For Love, performed on a sidewalk.

 

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Yahoo! On The Road: Empire of the Sun & Gold Fields

I posted yesterday on a live streamed show featuring Empire of the Sun and Gold Fields from Dallas which was part of Yahoo’s On The Road live tour. If you managed to catch it, then you know as much as I do that we all witnessed something truly special. In the past, I’ve been a fan of EOTS, admittedly not as wild as I now am after seeing that amazing performance. But it was this show yesterday and this show only, that’s made me going completely insane in wait for their upcoming album, Ice on the Dune.

For starters, I’ll just remind readers that yesterday was a live show, streamed on Yahoo! Meaning it wasn’t actually live. That being said, I don’t think I’ve ever watched anything on YouTube or any other video streaming site where I’ve gotten lost in the experience so hard I could’ve sworn I was at the House Of Blues right in the middle of the mosh pit. It was, no joke, that amazing. Gold Fields of course didn’t disappoint (as they never in their career have), annihilating the premise of what people think about “support” bands and making this more of a double-headliner show. Sweeping through their debut album Black Sun with tracks like the re-worked already classics Treehouse and You’re Still Gone they looked a little uncomfortable on the strangely lit stage in front of punters that were clearly there from the beginning to see their precious Empire of the Sun. Not to worry, the Ballarat locals easily swayed their attention by the time they broke into their brilliant cover of Underworld’s, ‘Born Slippy’ and by the time they closed the set with Moves everyone was on board.

Now, like I said, I haven’t always been a massive fan of EOTS in the way that I know the lyrics to every single song. I have the album. I respect and liked to listen to the album. That being said, I was a stranger to a lot of the songs. This could be because they played a lot of the new album, or a consequence of my own musical ignorance. Regardless, it absolutely blew my face off from beginning to end. Empire of the Sun were inspiring to say the least from the moment they appeared on the sci-fi induced dream sequence that used to resemble a stage of sorts. They began the set with what sounded almost like an electronically enhanced glam rock introduction, burning through lines of lead guitar over and over with a lick that I kind of wanted them to play as many times of possible without moving on, it was that incredible an opening. There were fish-looking people in rubber suits and giant jelly-fish, with a weird ambient background that changed like the old-school Windows Media Player used to. Frontman Luke Steele is something to marvel at. He is a massive musical force, and that’s putting it lightly. His style, his vocals and his presence all come together to form something you can tell he truly believes in, like a method actor having trouble breaking out of character he makes you believe all of the weird fantasy novel dancers and psychadelic shit that’s going on in the background.

The show itself was absolutely amazing. Like if an amazing band just played in costume while cirque du soleil trained in full dress in the background. But it was the music that lifted it to the heights that it ended up reaching. Of course they played classics like We Are The People, Standing On The Shore and Walking On A Dream, but it was the new stuff that really stood out. The harsh reality of me writing this now is that I don’t know any of the names of the new stuff nor do I have access to be able to listen to it or stream it to any readers. But I can’t recommend any higher checking out the videos from the gig that are already up on Yahoo!

Empire of the Sun are playing at Sydney Opera House on the 28th of May as part of the Vivid Sydney Festival. Tickets are currently sold out but watch out for scalpers!

Watch the videos via the link below:

Gold Fields – You’re Still Gone

Gold Fields – Moves

Empire Of The Sun – Alive

Empire Of The Sun – Walking On A Dream

Empire Of The Sun – Standing On The Shore

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