Australian dance music trio PNAU played their first show in LA in years at the El Rey Theatre, following a landmark 2022 with a remix of “Cold Heart” by Elton John and Dua Lipa catapulting them back into the spotlight and Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis film, featuring “Don’t Fly Away” (featuring a sample of The King’s “Suspicious Minds”). Collectively, PNAU are all producers, with Nick Littlemore also handling vocals, Peter Mayes on guitar and Sam Littlemore on drums, delivering a continuous, hour-long set without any breaks. The guys have been at it since the 90s and are masters at their craft, perfecting house music and a variety of dance music sounds. Though there were noticeably some audio issues and Nick Littlemore’s mic, he made no mistake pushing unofficial fourth member of the band Kira Divine center stage along with her microphone stand on more than one occasion. It was a shining moment for Divine and the guys were proud to have their most frequent vocal collaborator along with them.
The sun was coming up on the earth, opening the show with explosive graphics on the screen. The band took the stage in red, white and navy jumpsuits with Divine working the stage in a green robe, performing hit “Solid Gold” alongside Nick. The bass-heavy “Nothing in The World” was next and the crowd was loving it as Divine kept the energy up.
Whimsical 2008 track “Baby” with its children’s chorus vocal offered crazy energy and colors and drummer Sam Littlemore worked overtime on this one. “No More Violence”, a song released in 2007 resonated more than ever after a rather turbulent year, with the band yelling “no more silence” at the crowd, with the lyrics “1, 2, 3, 4, we won’t take it anymore” flashing on the screen behind the musicians.
PNAU dance anthem “Go Bang” was a clear favorite of the night for the audience who were singing along while Kira Divine had her shining moment, robe off and in a hot pink bodysuit. The energy remained high for “Cold Heart (PNAU Remix), which put the band back on the map in a big way in 2022, collaborating with Elton John and Dua Lipa. Nick sounded wonderful on the Elton vocal and Divine handled the Dua Lipa portion, while the vibrant, animated music video played in the background.
The soulful Afrobeat vocal of “Changa” kept Divine center stage and Nick blew kisses to fans for the lively tune. On “Come Together”, Nick played a small wind instrument and on the 80s, new wave-centered “Embrace”, Nick brought Divine’s mic stand from stage right to center stage, where she of course owned it and Mayes mixed up the synths for a wompy instrumental that truly slapped. Divine’s hand was up for the final chorus, electrifying the fans who were singing along with their hands up.
The production was slick on “Control Your Body” with Nick singing alongside Divine and at one point he faced the crowd seated with his back to them. The tropical production was hypnotic and Divine twerked a bit before laying on the stage to sing “I’m on the edge of my, on the edge of my-my”. PNAU finished things off with arguably their most feel-good song, “Chameleon”, giving an insane extended version to the fans. “We love you in your sadness, we love you in your joy, we love every girl and boy”, said Nick Littlemore.
LA-based producer MIRAMAR was the night’s opener.
Words by Michael Menachem
Images by Tim Aarons