By Iron Rose
After enjoying two nights of Kraftwerk's awesome krautrock electronica, Indie dance glamrock group Empire of the Sun proved to be a complete contrast while at the same time incorporating some Krafty elements. Let's face it, Empire of the Sun is just another 2 piece guitar band, but what a visual extravaganza they produce, and how appropriate they should be part of Sydney Australia's VIVID festival.
Just like Kraftwerk, Empire has a lot of space age projected images behind them, more psyechedelia, more swirling and bubbling going on, less computer, hammer, anvil and tong foccus. Unlike Kraftwerk they love sequins, outrageous head dresses, fog machines and lots of band member movement. And as if having the band jump around in lycra and spangles thrashing their guitars isn't enough they have four professional dancers in even more spectacular outfits for your eyes to enjoy. The whole visual impact is enhanced by the impact on the ear which consists of amplifiers turned up to 12 making the lyrics of their catchy tunes practically inaudible. There's a lot of distortion going on there.
But for stoney Roads afficianados the one thing that Empire does different to Kraftwerk is to get the audience jumping. By song 3 the whole of the Sydney Opera House's packed Concert Hall was up on their feet dancing to the undeniably contagious beat. The audience was younger than Kraftwerk's, probably less Germanically serious, possibly more alcohol fuelled, less nerdy and they were having a great time .... lets all wave our iPhones in the air, yeah!!!
So which band was better? Well there is no better, both bands are seriously great. Kraftwerk has gravitas, over thirty years of proven innovation and contribution at the cutting edge so they rightly have to be admired, enjoyed and respected. But for sheer exuberant fun, a David Bowie like glam experience and a good dancey workout Empire of the Sun has the edge.
Watch the full show below, action kicks off at the 10:22 mark.