Austin Music Hall started to feel a little like home for me Saturday night as I returned for the 3rd time in 4 days (Deadmau5 and Pretty Lights before). Battling aching legs and sleep deprivation, I was forced to heed the beckoning call of “Emperor” Luke Steele and his Empire of the Sun. And it was wonderful: the smallish crowd, some clad in headdresses and glow-in-the-dark face paint, was rewarded with a spectacular and intimate show.
The show was the Australia-based Empire’s first show in Austin and, based on the crowd’s reaction, many were unprepared for what was in store. With the musicians donning colorful futuristic costumes and dancers strangely gyrating in an eerie fog, EOTS is David Bowie meats Lady Gaga.
Luke Steele, the band’s front man, used a myriad of vocal effects and multiple costume changes to keep even the most dedicated fans on their toes throughout the show. While somewhat short (due to only one album of songs to sample from), the performance ending so dramatically, many in attendance stood in disbelief for moments after the lights when dark.
If you are going to the festival today, I strongly urge you to check out Empire of the Sun at 7:30 on the Google+ stage. You’ll be conveniently close to where Arcade Fire will play, and may get to see a band whose bright future may have them similarly closing down festivals for years to come.