Who the Heck Is … Empire of the Sun

August 29, 2013

Nick Littlemore’s through-the-clouds synths perfectly complement Luke Steele’s falsetto vocals on Empire of the Sun’s second album, “Ice on a Dune,” which dropped in June. Since the release of the Australian electro-pop duo’s hit debut “Walking on a Dream” five years ago, Littlemore, left, and Steele, right, have been on a nonstop world tour.

Synth We Met
The two met in 2000 at a bar in Sydney, which led to collaborations on Littlemore’s rock project Teenager and Steele’s alt-rock band The Sleepy Jackson. The two reunited to work on songs for the dance act Pnau before forming Empire of the Sun in 2008.

Big Gigs
The Empire guys have worked with megastars including Beyonce and Elton John. Littlemore composed songs and served as musical director for Cirque du Soleil’s “Zarkana” show. Possibly more memorable was Steele’s contribution to “What We Talkin’ About,” the lead track on Jay Z’s “The Blueprint 3.”

Looking Sharp
The duo’s colorful wardrobe looks as if it were inspired by a long week at Burning Man — one of Steele’s creative headdresses has 11 spikes that look sharp enough to pierce ripe fruit — and their futuristic stage show features dancers in spacesuits.

9:30 Club, 815 V St. NW; Sun. & Mon., 7 p.m., sold out; 202-265-0930. (U Street)
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Scott Shigeoka · August 29, 2013