Empire of the Sun – October 29th – Ogden Theatre

Empire of the Sun

The Scene: Denver loves Halloween. Denver loves Empire of the Sun. Put them together and what do you get? A sold-out Ogden Theatre show studded with the finest futuristic glam livery. Ornate headdresses, satin three-piece suits, face paint and glitter galore; sometimes it felt as if you were swimming in a sea of David Bowies. Shortly after the doors opened, the house was packed and the audience was bustling with anticipation.

Opener: Alpine. It’s not easy opening for an international phenomena, but Alpine delivered a striking performance at the Ogden on Tuesday in their Denver debut. The six-piece Indie-Pop group out of Melbourne has a ethereal quality that is accentuated by the two female singers that certainly are the focal point of their production. Their lyrics are somewhat repetitive but are peppered with poetry–some thoughtfulness amidst the mindlessly addictive melodies and echoing female vocals. On Tuesday, Alpine was fun and bubbly as the girls danced around the stage like besties often do in their houses late at night after a few too many glasses of wine. Songs like “Hands” and “Gasoline” got the crowd fired up with their incredible Pop quality. Technically the performance was on point–not perfect–but certainly commendable. All in all, Alpine offered an excellent appetizer to preface the fantastic main course that laid ahead.

Empire of the Sun: If you haven’t seen this band yet, you are seriously missing out. Tuesday marked the Austrailian Electro-Glam-Pop duo’s second Colorado performance after headlining Global Dance Festival in 2011. Many people have heard their brand of electronic New Wave, but over the last few years Empire of the Sun has become fabled for their amazing live performances which are rich with lavish, high-fashion, futuristic costumry, psychedelic video installations, and intricate stage choreographies. Guitar player and vocalist Luke Steele steals the spotlight with his larger than life headdress, which makes him look like an Aztec warrior from another planet. He is known for his work with the Alternative Rock group The Sleepy Jackson, and has collaborated on projects with Jay-Z, Beyoncé Knowles and Usher. Though it may seem like his counterpart Nick Littlemore gets an unfair share of the limelight, the drummer of Empire of the Sun has his own allotment of accolades, not only was he the front man for EDM outfit Pnau, but he has worked as a producer with the likes of Elton John and Ellie Goulding. He has also composed music for music for Cirque de Soleil. Maybe that is where they get some of their inspiration for the stage production.

On Tuesday, dancers’ costumes ran the gamut–along with Steele’s trademarked headgear, Littlemore sported a giant feather Mohawk headdress and the often faceless females’ outfits were whimsical and glamorous in a twisted Alexander McQueen vein but still in-line with the futuristic space theme. They also brought a backup guitar player/percussionist. The group launched the show with “Old Flavours,” a powerful number from their second and most recent album, Ice on the Dune. They carried that momentum into “DNA,” and then into the ever-popular “We are the People” from their debut album Walking on a Dream, and the crowd exploded. After that, they moved into the nautically themed “Standing on the Shore,” another song from their most recent album which has gained momentum thanks to a curiously bizarre music video; the live performance was no disappointment.

The show continued with other greats such as “Half Mast” and “Walking on a Dream.” The highlight of the evening was marked with two confetti snowstorms which were released; the first came with the delivery of the tour’s namesake track “Ice on the Dune,” the second, with their newest hit single “Alive” which marked the close of the show. It was a massive performance, the only disappointment was the ending which seemed somewhat abrupt, but after a brief moment of digestion the satisfied crowd happily filed out as the evening had come to a close.

Energy: A+
Musicianship: B+
Sound: A
Stage Presence: A+
Set/ Light Show: A+

Overall: A+


Who Is Jeanette Barrow

Audiophile. Logomaniac. I must get to the show.