Swedish House Mafia in Australia: The first report

For the first account of Swedish House Mafia’s run of last-ever sold-out shows in Australia, inthemix went to a source close to the action: Melbourne-based DJ-producer Grant Smillie, who was tasked with the warm-up set before the Swedes hit the stage last night at the Sidney Myer Music Bowl.

With much anticipation and four sold-out shows, the Swedish House Mafia finally kicked off their Australian tour last night at the Myer Music Bowl to mass adulation from the 15,000-odd punters in the crowd. It’s a two-hour visual and aural assault, with a hands-in-the-air moment happening pretty much at the change of each song.

The doors opened at 5pm and the Aston Shuffle boys kicked off proceedings, warming up with some great records, including Duke Dumont and Flume, as well as their own material. I was up next and it was interesting to see the crowd swell to near capacity by 7:30pm, when the venue went to silence and the anticipation built.

Backstage, Axwell and the lads were swapping stories about their previous shows at the Bowl and had super high expectations. Their before-show ritual of joining hands wishing each other luck completed, they hit the decks and at 7:55pm the white curtain dropped to a strong start. We Came We Raved We Loved, the new collab between Axwell and Sebastian Ingrosso, kicked off the show with pyro and CO2 set to maximum. About 45 minutes in, there was a technical issue with some back-of-house gear that knocked a lead out and sound was lost for a minute or two. Axwell jumped straight on the mic and quipped, “It seems that Melbourne’s power grid can’t handle the Swedish House Mafia,” before it all powered back up.

The show really kicked up a gear once darkness fell. It’s a shame that the weeknight curfew of the venue didn’t allow them to start in the darkness, as I feel that the theatre and energy of their show really came into effect in the darkness. (I guess one punter in particular was waiting until dark as well to light his flare midway up the hill.)

There were crowd sing-along moments to the Ivan Gough and Feenixpawl smash In My Mind and also In The Air still managed to get the hill united in voice, but the real big moment came when they worked in their biggest single to date. When they dropped Don’t You Worry Child I think you could hear the scream from Sydney. It felt as close to a rock concert at that point as you could get, such was the energy in the arena.

They closed out with Save The World and the crowd left united in voice. The pyro, production and visuals are synched to perfection and there’s no better person on the microphone than Axwell, who manages to somehow maintain humility while hyping the crowd. So many hands-up moments, so many smiles on faces and I am sure so many hangovers on a school night.

Much like the last time Daft Punk were here in ‘07, I would think that many will look back as fondly of the night the Swedish House Mafia came to town. For those who have tickets to the remaining shows, you won’t be disappointed. It’s a rollicking two hours of non-stop fun that will make you wish, is that really the last time?

Swedish House Mafia return to Melbourne tonight and Friday, before the grand finale in Sydney on Saturday 2 February. Want to win the last tickets to the sold-out shows? Head here to enter.