Live: Empire Of the Sun, Joy Formidable, Answering Machine, Midnight Juggernauts

Empire Of the Sun just might be hitting arenas in a few years

If you only know Empire Of the Sun for their studio work, you may be stunned by the band’s ambitious live show.  More than a gig, it’s a full-on production with lighting, costumes, uniquely choreographed dancers that are hard to explain in a short space, and of course music which is played to a T.  When they have more material to draw from, the band can become arena-level.  They have almost a Muse-like intensity and the visuals are brilliant.  Word is spreading, and Empire had to play 4 shows this week at the Henry Fonda. The crowd loved it and the pre-show anticipation in the club was the highest I’ve seen an awhile.  

UK buzzband The Joy Formidable rocked Silver Lake’s Bootleg Theatre. The raw guitar-oriented 3-piece is fronted by Ritzy Bryan, who handles the guitar along with her lead vocals.  She’s got the goods and the band delivers live.  They’ve got cool songs in “Whirring” and “Poppinjay” and could use a couple more to help seal the deal.  Speaking of deals, they are signed in both the UK and US.  This is a rare Brit band that is becoming established in both countries at about the same time.

Manchester group The Answering Machine played at The Echo here in L.A.  Their “Oh Christina” got some attention a few years ago.  These guys are talented, fun, and play well.  Their new stuff has enough potential where I’d like to hear the new songs again when they become available.  The band is in that melodic, guitar-oriented, very British-sounding niche which is a tough sell right now.  As the pendulum hopefully swings back in that direction, these guys can be contenders.

I’ve been keen to see Melbourne’s Midnight Juggernauts since their Dystopia album came out in 2007.  They played a stripped-down set at The Echo. Like many indie-electro bands, they’ve moved in a softer, more-progressive direction.  Their newer stuff is cool but I’m afraid I prefer the immediacy of their earlier upbeat, house stylings.


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