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Gig Review: Cut Copy and RÜFÜS: April 17 @ The Forum, London

Words by Scenewave Australia - Published on April 19, 2014

To round out possibly the most perfect Spring day in London, The Forum played host to two of Australia’s finest synth-pop acts. Up and coming Sydney-siders RÜFÜS set the stage for one their major inspirations and pioneers in the Australian dance music scene, Melbournian band Cut Copy. The combination of the two acts was ideal with RÜFÜS’s unique electronic compositions and vibrant performance serving as an appropriate prelude to Cut Copy’s energetic and vivacious show.

Rufus kicked off the gig drawing a decent crowd, demonstrating the band’s promise and ability to break out on the international scene. They immediately made an impact, opening with their dreamy dance track “Sundream”, captivating the audience into moving to the infectious synth line. A solid opening was continued with quality performances of tracks from the band’s gold selling debut LP, Atlas. Standouts from the set included “Tonight” and “Take Me”, which prompted spectators to sing along to the tropical summer chorus – a true accolade for an emerging band playing to a foreign audience. Smiles shot across the faces of everyone in The Forum as they realised what the night had in store for them.

After a short intermission and a couple of well-deserved pints, Cut Copy graced the stage to a very warm welcome from their fans. Following suit with their precursors, they opened with a sound dance number “We Are Explorers”, from their recent LP Free Your Mind. By this stage the venue had gotten nice and cozy with a near-sell out crowd filling the dance floor. The energy and exuberance generated by the band clearly translated to the audience. Imitations of front man ­­­Dan Whitford’s moves could be seen throughout the Forum with fans enthusiastically jumping, clapping and flailing limbs to the catchy synths, high hats, and melodic bass line.

The difference between established bands putting on a great show as opposed to a mediocre one can often come down to their ability to combine and transition between their old and new songs, especially when their sound has changed and progressed over the years. Whilst there is a distinct difference between tracks from the new album Free Your Mind and previous albums, their song selection and performance played on this seamlessly. The audience was taken on a rollercoaster switching from solid dance anthems such as “Free Your Mind” to more temperate tracks involving acoustic elements like “Feel the Love”. The change in tempo was marked by a fantastic and diverse visual display ranging from a psychedelic acid rainbow montage to a majestic mountain range, adding to the atmosphere and really enhancing the performance.

The set was officially brought to a close with the band’s most acclaimed track “Lights & Music”, and was quite clearly a fan favourite. There was not a single still body in the Forum as the crowd let loose to the upbeat synth line and the zealous vocals – a clear-cut demonstration of the band’s phenomenal stage presence. The song brought the set to an ideal close and the audience was obviously completely contented with the performance; however the obligatory chants for an encore rang out across the venue. The mellow, placid tones of “Walking in the Sky” worked well in contrast to the previous spirited dance number, with the audience settling into a state of bliss to what they perceived as the finale to a fantastic performance. However, there were a couple more surprises in store. Again, the band raised the tempo with another lively dance track “Need You Now” to finish how they started: pulsating synths and drums, flashing lights, and fans leaping around the dance floor.

A final installment for the show and possibly an improvised reaction to calm the crowd, Ben Browning decided to free himself from the shackles of his bass guitar and grace the crowd with his ‘vocal prowess’. His rendition of Bill Withers’ “Lean on Me” was met with as much confusion as it was delight as fans swayed with arms around shoulders and belted out lyrics to the soulful ‘70s classic – a true display of the connection everyone had experienced in witnessing Cut Copy’s performance. A fitting end to a phenomenal show!

Words by Declan Martin

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