[LIVE REVIEW] PNAU // Enmore Theatre // 19/07/18

As a touring act of veteran status, there’s something special about using your platform to elevate artists on the ascent and expose them to a wider audience. To our headliner’s credit, this is exactly what they’ve curated in the form of Clypso and Kuren, two formidable up-and-comers within Australian dance music that have plenty of momentum and a world of potential behind them. The former is a ball of electro energy, exuding confidence and winning over the still-gathering crowd. Current single “Pop Roll Flow” rides a bass-line you can feel in your chest and a rhythm that could burn a hole in your dancing shoes – an essential listen in its own right. The latter, meanwhile, comes from the school of multi-instrumentalist producers who mix live instrumentation with programming and sequencing. His drumming is on-point, emphasising particular drops and twists within his compositions; his keyboard playing, too, adds a jazzy spontaneity to the fairly-faithful electro-pop numbers pulled out from within his canon. Both acts can safely lay claim to status as ones to watch – perhaps theatre dates of their own await in the not-too-distant future. In the meantime, we can all say we were there when it all started.

It says a lot that the last time PNAU were this big, most of the crowd in attendance were still in primary school. On the back of 2017’s Changa, the evergreen ravers reintroduced themselves to a whole new generation and hit a new high of critical and commercial success. As highly-acclaimed as their live show has been in the past, the truth of the matter is that there has never been a better time to see PNAU live. Backed by stunning visuals and an amazing technicolour sensory stimulus – covered in literal glow-in-the-dark paint – the band have a full Enmore captivated from the very second the emerge from the darkness. Frontman Nick Littlemore is as eccentric and engaging as he’s ever been, a wild-eyed ringleader with a seemingly-endless supply of energy. He’s flanked by a muscly live ensemble – that’s Operator Please alum Tim Commandeur beating the drums like they owe him money; that’s vivacious New York vocalist Kira Divine holding court on hits such as “Go Bang” and the Ladyhawke-assisted “Embrace.” Again, to our headliner’s credit, it speaks volumes that they can now be considered an inter-generational live experience. So long as the vibe is right, PNAU lives.

Review – David James Young.