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Review + Snaps: Porter Robinson & Madeon | Hordern Pavilion, Sydney

Written By Sam Murphy on 02/27/2017

Porter Robinson and Madeon have had a very similar trajectory. They both made a name for themselves with big EDM anthems before exiting that world in favour of debut albums that were less about drops and more about developing their own sound. Both succeeded and embarked on world tours that placed a heavy emphasis on the narrative of a live show.

In the way, their pairing for this tour makes sense. You only have to listen to their collaborative track Shelter to know that they slot together effortlessly and live it was no different.

So confident they must’ve been of their own show that they allowed Norwegian maestro Lido to open for them. Lido has one of the best live electronic shows in the country, darting between instruments and vocals while still managing to maintain passion and showmanship. Running through tracks from his debut Everything, he brought soul and made believers of a room of people that were essentially there to hear Porter and Madeon. He closed with his remix of Alison Wonderland’s Messiah, showing just how potent his voice can be when it doesn’t take a backseat.

@porterrobinson x @madeon ??????

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Porter and Madeon took to the stage soon after with a set-up that was a piece of art in itself. The pair of them up there behind illuminated screens was a sight to behold and it’s become one of the most iconic live photos doing the rounds at the moment. The show didn’t rely on the usual theatrics of a Porter or Madeon set in terms of displaying film-like visuals behind them, instead the emphasis was one them.

They hit us with Shelter straight out of the gates, injecting energy across the room with that glitchy, anime-centred beginning. Madeon’s voice is as good live as it is on record and that added an element that Porter often lacks with his own live sets. From there, the pair of them darted between hits like a tennis match. They went from the groovy funk of Madeon’s Pay No Mind to Porter’s gigantic Easy. Porter’s Sad Machine moved into Madeon’s You’re On and while it could’ve easily sounded like they were versing each other, it genuinely felt like they were complimenting.

When the music climaxed, confetti blasted and the pair jumped in unison. It was rehearsed to the endth degree but the way the setlist rose and fell ensured that there was enough excitement to cater for the predictability of their physical antics.

Porter’s debut album Worlds and Madeon’s debut Adventure were the centrepieces of the set and the highlights of those records sounded better than ever. Porter’s Flicker gave the set a much needed dose of perkiness and Madeon’s La Lune felt like an epic movie thrown into slow motion. The crowd was right there with them the whole time, never cheering louder for Porter than Madeon or vice versa.

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As they were combining two catalogues, it was always going to lack the narrative or their own solo sets. Porter’s Worlds show is one of the greatest triumphs of electronic music and the emotional effect of that show was greater than the Shelter show. Superfans of both producers would’ve had a number of teary moments watching them together but beyond that it lacked the storytelling and beauty of his solo show. This was most clear when Goodbye To A World as it didn’t feel as emotionally conclusive.

That said, coming back for the encore to perform Shelter acoustically upfront was an inspiring move and the fragility of that alongside its follower Language was spectacular.

It was a great entertaining show and it was exciting to see them up there together, if not just to tick it off the bucket list. The crowd loved every minute and in many ways, the show was for them. Whereas their solo shows are artistic and require some sort of concentration, this one was all about exploring their explosive discographies. It was pure entertainment and while it may not have transported us to another world, it was enough to witness their world and celebrate their heartening friendship.

Photos by Bianca Bosso.