Eight live electronic acts killing it right now

With all of the hype around production-heavy, festival-size EDM shows, where the music is synched with the visuals, lasers, lights and fireworks, it’s easy to forget that electronic music can also be about artists creating sounds live on stage, with all of the spontaneity and excitement a live show entails. Whether it’s producers going freestyle on stage with their hardware or bands recreating house music with instruments, there are live electronic acts out there right now who are absolutely killing it. Here are the eight you can’t miss.

Jagwar Ma

Sydney duo Jono Ma and Gabriel Winterfield are re-invigorating the sound of late-80s psychedelic Madchester – the “baggy” indie dance of The Happy Mondays and Stone Roses – and as you’d expect from a group that takes its musical cues from good-time live bands, they put on a cracking live show. In fact, their appearance at this year’s Glastonbury was so well received that NME labelled them the festival’s “number one must-see band.” Their set at this year’s Splendour in the Grass saw inthemix right up on the barrier, throwing shapes at two in the afternoon to their massive acid house rave-ups. When they can flesh out the band with more live players, their live set will be truly formidable.

Nicolas Jaar

Who would have expected that the languid house sounds of Nicolas Jaar would pull a massive percentage of the punters at the indie-centric Laneway Festival? But that’s exactly what happened in Sydney earlier this year, and by all reports at the other Laneway Festivals around the world. Jaar’s four-piece live group put on a slow-burning, immersive set that worked its way into a steady groove, and held its own against the competition of Flume’s mainstage anthems. With the album for Jaar’s Darkside project with Dave Harrington due to drop on October 8, we’re hoping for some more tour action down our way soon.

Passion Pit

With three keyboards/synths, live bass and drums and one of the greatest front men around in Michael Angelakos, Passion Pit are a live force to be reckoned with. Angelakos whirls around the stage like a manic dervish, unleashing his falsetto voice over the weird-synth-dance-pop being produced by the band, whipping the crowd into a frenzy as the lasers go wild. Their recent mainstage set at Splendour in the Grass even made us forget that Frank Ocean’s headline slot had been filled by Of Monsters and Men.

John Talabot live

The last time inthemix caught John Talabot in the flesh (at Laneway Festival 2012) you might say that word of his talents hadn’t really caught on yet. “Talabot churned out an unrelenting and downright joyous set to a small but VERY enthusiastic group (you couldn’t really call it a ‘crowd’),” our reviewer said, concluding, “If you ever get a chance to see this man in action, do.” One year later and the word has definitely spread off the back of debut album fIN – Talabot will hold down a top spot on the line-up for Fuzzy’s Listen Out tour this September and October. What his live set may lack in stage antics (which usually consists of Talabot and collaborator Pional working the drum pads, keys, cowbells and singing) it certainly makes up for in dense, danceable sounds that are “not really disco, not really house” (as Talabot told inthemix in 2012) but which contain (the Guardian said) “arguably the greatest sense of build-and-release in dance music since prime Booka Shade…full of incredible tension-releasing moments.”

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