Empire of the Sun is such an appropriate name for the headliner at Bunbury on Friday night. From the middle of psychedelic sea anemone people flowing in an imaginary breeze to slinkier beings jerking and sliding around like Voldo from Soul Caliber rises a man, sporting a wild gold sun crown and silk kimono, preparing to address the crowd.
They are the Empire of the Sun, here to court the Empire of Bunbury on a musical journey through their dream.
Between the otherworldly happenings on stage, the massive LED backdrop and dancetastic composition, this band has a way of mesmerizing a crowd. Frontman Luke Steele has an extraterrestrial, almost Bowie-like way of crooning upbeat love ballads and cryptic tunes of memories, possibilities and living in the moment to the audience as if we are his beloveds, and his guitar skills bring some rock and roll vibes to the party. Their music has a really clean, mellow groove that finds a comfortable balance between electrofunk and house, but finds a home in slower pop songs to balance out the dance.
Co-conspired by Cirque du Soleil producer and Pnau lead Nick Littlemore, Empire of the Sun’s New Wave Electropop stylings floated to the market in 2008 with “Walking On A Dream,” which found instant success with title track, “Walking On A Dream.” One of their best songs, “We Are The People,” speak to an entire youth population with a dance anthem:
“We are the people that rule the world – a force running in every boy and girl – all rejoicing in the world. Take me now; we can try. I can’t do well if I think you’re gonna leave, but I know I try. Are you gonna leave me now? Can’t you be believing now?”
Much of their magic lies is in their lack of repetition, and the fact that they like to play with both the music and the lyrics for an almost Ween-esque variation. “Swordfish Hotkiss Night” is a totally bizarre explosion of WTF that’s addictively intoxicating. Lyrics such as “Kings Cross, hot shot, Jesus Christ on web blog, Cowboy at a cop shop, tiger in a drug store” don’t exactly draw much from the logic category, but the wordplay is what makes the song fun and interesting. You could even get down with your bad self and make your own anti-haiku with jibberish lyrics and tribal drum beats, it’s all the rage.
The best things in life are sometimes uber strange, and Empire of the Sun at Bunbury on Friday night might be the strangest thing you do that Friday night. It’s going to be a visually outstanding performance, and one you should catch while they’re in the Midwest – it doesn’t happen often, so let’s get weird.