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MUSIC | Cut Copy at First Avenue: 2011's show to beat
Life must be pretty good right now for Cut Copy. The Australian synthpop outfit have played in a bigger venue each time they've visited the Twin Cities, and they were recently named as one of the top acts at this summer's Pitchfork Music Festival. On April 9, they stopped through First Avenue in support of their third album, Zonoscope, which was released by Modular Recordings earlier this year.
Opening the night were Holy Ghost!, a like-minded synthpop group. They added a fifth member since they last played First Avenue (as an opening act for Chromeo last summer), and they also seemed to have more of a stage presence. They played a short set and kept things fresh by using a wide variety of instruments; at one point all five members were playing some kind of percussion instrument. Just like when they came to Minneapolis with Chromeo, members of Holy Ghost! stuck around to DJ at Too Much Love later in the night.
There was a large, mysterious obelisk on stage that was covered up but looked like it might be some kind of video board or light structure. It did turn out to be a video board—and a door, though which Cut Copy took the stage. The band jumped right into it, putting on a show worthy of the grand entrance.
The crowd was there to get down. From the start of Cut Copy's high energy set until the end, just about everyone was dancing. At one point, a woman with bunny ears and a giant fan entranced the audience by dancing on the stairs. Until security asked her to move, more people were watching her dance than watching the band on stage; they were even pulling out their phones and taking pictures. It was downright hypnotic.
Cut Copy opened with a few songs from 2008's In Ghost Colours before delving into the new album, and their 75-minute set featured a pretty even mix of songs from In Ghost Colours and Zonoscope. Like Holy Ghost!, Cut Copy played musical chairs, with some band members rotating among instruments. Their light show was a very nice addition to the live experience. It was simple and not too overpowering.
Cut Copy also had a very good stage presence that I didn't notice when they were upstaged by their countrymen and labelmates, The Presets, at the Fine Line Music Café in 2008. I left the Fine Line show unimpressed, but Cut Copy have certainly figured something out since then and I can easily say this was the best show I've seen in 2011 so far. I was not a huge fan of Zonoscope when listening at home, but the songs translated to great live performances.
Cut Copy made headlines last year by turning down an offer to go on tour with Lady Gaga, but the show they put on Saturday night would not be out of place in an arena. I'm not saying Cut Copy's next Twin Cities show will be in the Target Center, but I wouldn't be surprised if they continue their tradition of playing a bigger venue each time they visit.
©2011 Bobby Kahn (text) and Jay Gabler (photos)