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Gig Review: Cut Copy, May 10 @ Eaton’s Hill Hotel

Words by Scenewave Australia - Published on May 14, 2014

Guest written by Myles McGuire

Cut Copy is comprised of three talented dudes and their mate from high school, who is clearly tagging along for the drugs and the shoeless, screaming girls who made up much of their highly receptive audience at the Eaton’s Hill Hotel.

Throughout their set the guitarist only very rarely touched his instrument with the intention of producing sound. He did, however, do various other things, including swing said instrument around his head, upend a microphone stand, wear a tea-towel as a headpiece, and contribute various forms of alternative percussion- maracas, tambourines, and hands all featured- to what was, on the whole, a fairly engaging performance.

In contrast to that, frontman Dan Whitford thoroughly delivered, providing gently melancholic vocals against the backdrop of frothy EDM. As his bandmates careened around the stage, Whitford’s focused presence kept the performance orientated, serving as a reminder that beneath the danceable pop is a serious musician at work.

Cut Copy’s brand of inoffensive electropop has ventured into dancier territory since their introspective 2008 debut, In Ghost Colours. Whereas their earlier work was characterised by a retro sensibility reminiscent of Miami Horror, their most recent efforts favour twinkling synth-pop. The shift is most evident in the anthemic “Free Your Mind” and “We Are Explorers”. The slick dance tracks were played early on and they set the tone for a determinedly buoyant evening.

Live, Cut Copy sound much the same as they do on their studio recordings, both to their credit and detriment. The polished tracks heavily rely on electronic backing and as such, don’t benefit from the raw edge usually characteristic of live shows. Whilst this makes them the perfect soundtrack to a not-too-sloppy night out, it doesn’t make for particularly compelling live music.

Though for fans of the band, that was more than sufficient, and many found themselves amongst the enthusiastic epicenter of the crowd somehow managing to rave pretty hard to crowd favorites like “Hearts on Fire”  and “Lights and Music”. A considerable effort given the carpet of Eaton’s Hill Hotel tends to stick to one’s feet, severely inhibiting any movement.

The venue itself didn’t especially lend itself to the performance. Cavernous and impersonal, the Eaton’s Hill crowd resorted to milling about listlessly when the music, and a better choice of venue, may have led for a more intimate and propulsive set.

For the record, it’s also in the middle of fucking nowhere. When Google Maps informed me and my mate that we had arrived, we were actually on the edge of an open field with cows in sight, but no hotel. A significant dilemma for the not entirely sober.

Whilst TLC’s upcoming performance there might succeed in drawing out the thirty-plus and nostalgic, Cut Copy’s youthful poptimism seemed somewhat out of place, and you can’t help but think the gig would have been more at home at somewhere like West End’s, The Hi-Fi.

What was an enjoyable and competent performance was undercut by the venue, but overall: decent vibes, decent times, and a hell of an expensive taxi ride.

Posted in Blog, Gigs, Music

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