Cut Copy With Classixx and Nile Delta Granada Theater Sunday, June 22, 2014
By H. Drew Blackburn
There comes a point when you go to enough concerts, the pomp and circumstance behind The Encore just fades away. You realize screaming like some sort of crazed social activist or Benghazi truther will do nothing. They, or he, or she will come back out and play a few songs they hadn't played yet. The songs will be the biggest hits; if you're lucky a deep cut might possibly creep its way on the set list. Unless of course you're Kanye West and Jay Z, in which case they will just play the same song over and over and over.
So when Cut Copy decided they would just load up their drums, guitars and synthesizers and feign to go on their merry way at Granada Theater on Sunday night, they were always going to come back out. Except, instead of screaming "CUT COPY" or "ENCORE!," the sold-out crowd chanted, "U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S-A!"
Considering that Cut Copy is from Australia, that this global phenom called the World Cup is happening right now (have you heard of it?), and the fact that Australia isn't doing so hot in the World Cup, such a chant could've felt like willful arrogance. You know, the type that makes people want to bomb America. The type that if Texas were to attempt to really secede would lead to the other 49 states to shrug and say, "Well, you were a pain in the ass anyway." It's the type of thing that could ruin the night for everybody.
It didn't. That was a red-herring. It was a funny, and irreverent occurrence to top off a wild night.
From the very first pulsation of bass during Cut Copy's opener, "We Are Explorers," to the last refrain on "Need You Now," the last song of the encore, the Granada Theater turned into an '80s dance party, lit from top to bottom--in the British sense and the literal sense.
Neon lights enveloped the congregation, which looked like figurines on a vibrating table. It was like Doc Brown, frantic and all, put each and every one of them into his Delorean for a quick trip into the past.
As a synth-pop band, Cut Copy lives and dies on executing a free-loving atmosphere. On record, like their latest, Free Your Mind, a phrase which was projected onto the screen at the back of the stage for much of the night, their songs are pretty much serviceable. They aren't exactly special. They're repetitive and the don't surprise you in any way. You know every wind and turn before it happens like the same drive home. But, they act as a template to their far superior live show.
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Loud. Vibrant. A tether of energy.
As with most synth-pop bands, Cut Copy's songs seem to nearly warp together thanks to a lack of dissonance between one and another. It's a pitfall of the formula. But in the live setting this monotony is exchanged for momentum. It's like being hit with a battering ram of electricity, repeatedly.
Frontman Dan Whitford is a bit awkward. He's got nearly the same gesticulatory grace as Borat. It's almost comical watching him sweat and rigidly jitter about in all his earnest glory. He doesn't need to really give of an air of coolness, as lead guitarist Tim Hoey kind of did. Hoey wore a skin tight blazer with the sleeves rolled to his elbows, which made you think you're watching Don Johnson sans pastels.
However, cool does not matter all that much. Whitford, Hoey, bassist Ben Browning and drummer Mitchell Scott don't really need to be cool. They just have to provide one end of that tether of energy with the audience and break a sweat just as they do. When they do, it's enough to bring out the patriot in us all.