Cut//Copy – 4/17/11 – San Francisco [Review]

I was a bit skeptical going into see Cut Copy at the Regency Ballroom in San Francisco on April 17th. With the group’s electro-meets-rock sound, I wasn’t sure if the Australian group’s electronic-intensive style would translate well to the stage. I’ve seen some acts fill their songs with pre-programmed beats and ethereal synth overtones and fall flat when performing because the members of the group rely too heavily on a backing track or sample they’re playing against. Luckily, Cut Copy managed to prove itself as a band that’s more than capable of pulling off its characteristically polished and well produced sound.

The New York-based dance punk band Holy Ghost! opened up the show and helped set the tone for the remainder of the evening. With ties to the seminal independent label DFA Records, Holy Ghost! has been receiving a good amount of buzz ever since it first started releasing singles in 2009. The group’s debut LP, released earlier this year, is an energized recording and has helped establish the band as a premier disco-influenced synth-pop act. The group’s stage show only further bolstered the band’s standing.

When the four members of Cut Copy emerged from a whimsically oversized door set on the middle of the stage and fell into their first song of the night, it was immediately apparent how strong of a band the group is. On record, some of the band’s songs sound like they could be produced by a single person with lead singer Dan Whitford’s vocals thrown on top. But when playing live, the quartet capitalizes off the overall group-dynamic of the band. Every member sung and added his own unique instrumental contribution to the group’s multifaceted sound.

Surprisingly, guitarist Tim Hoey was especially expressive with his six-string. Though the majority of Cut Copy’s songs are void of any flashy guitar playing or solos, Hoey added layers of nuanced tones that helped provide some impressive backing noise to his band mates’ contributions. Heavily loading his guitar with effects, Hoey’s role seemed to be that of providing layers of altered sounds as opposed to playing crisp notes or strumming clean chords—at times he simply hit the strings of his guitar with a drum stick.

Throughout the show, the band played a good amount of tracks off its recent LP, Zonoscope, as well as its sophomore breakthrough album, In Ghost Colors. Though the albums are fairly different from one another—Zonoscope being built upon sprawling songs with melodic rises and falls in tempo and Ghost Colors a collection of extremely pop-friendly cuts that beg to be listened to repeatedly—the mixture of songs during the group’s performance managed to blend well. Tracks like “Lights and Music” and “Corner of the Sky” were dance anthems that got the young crowd jumping (undoubtedly forcing individuals standing on the mezzanine pondering the structural integrity of the balcony), while other more sprawling songs like “Sun God” and “So Haunted” provided a nice contrast to the band’s more manic songs.

After playing a good chunk of its song catalog and closing out the evening with a double encore, the members of the band left the stage. Looking visibly exhausted, with shirts drenched in sweat, the four guys in the band exited like they knew they had accomplished something. Though the band’s sophomore LP helped put the group on the indie spectrum, the group’s most recent release was undoubtedly a test to see if Cut Copy could maintain its stamina as a band with another respectable recording. Well, the group passed this test and its show in San Francisco only helped further its reputation.

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RELATED LINKS

CUT//COPY Official Facebook Page

Holy Ghost! Official Facebook Page

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About J Gillett
I like music, beer and Mexican food.

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