Live Review: Cut Copy with Holy Ghost! at 9:30 Club, Washington, DC – 30th March 2011

By on Friday, 1st April 2011 at 2:00 pm

“You must be a Cut Copy fan.” This is what someone greeted me with 2 years ago this month as I stood outside the Black Cat waiting to get into a show starring Friendly Fires. (It was the first date on a North American tour they were co-headlining with White Lies, sponsored by NME.) Even today, I don’t really see the similarities between the two bands – except maybe the fact that both sound kind of tropical and they both make enjoyable dance music? – But to be sure, Washington is a major hub for Cut Copy fans, as for 2 nights straight the Australian dance band sold out the 9:30. Your faithful editor at TGTF managed to get herself into the second night’s show.

Holy Ghost! was a fitting opening band for Cut Copy in that they warmed up the crowd slowly but surely with tracks from their self-titled debut album, to be released in mid-April on DFA Records. Any self-respecting dance fan knows Holy Ghost!’s ‘Hold On’, and the new material is as punchy and the beats are just as sweet as that now-dance floor classic. ‘It’s Not Over’ and ‘I Will Come Back’ were definite highlights. It also happened to be drummer Nick Millhiser’s birthday, something frontman Alex Frankel just had to reveal in order to embarrass his best buddy. Too funny. ‘Do It Again’ featured Frankel playing with an iPad on what I believe to be a TouchOSC program (?) and it was very neat to see him just press buttons effortlessly on this small, flat piece of technology and make it produce the sounds he wanted. Their set concluded with ‘Jam for Jerry’, which I imagine is in honour of the late great Jerry Fuchs, who notably played with LCD Soundsystem and !!! before his tragic death in 2009.

I’m quite faint-hearted when it comes to strobes. I saw Phoenix last year at Constitution Hall and ended up turning away from the stage because I was getting blinded. I had a similar reaction to seeing Chromeo, who incidentally also took Holy Ghost! with them on the road summer 2010 (only difference was I could feel my face vibrating at that 9:30 show). Cut Copy’s music lends itself to a summery, tropical feel, so it should come as no surprise that blinding multi-coloured lights figured prominently in their stage set-up. Wednesday night I made the mistake of standing in front of a light that looked innocuous enough but then when it was switched on – yep, blinded!

Oh well. It’s not like anyone around me cared at all. They were all mesmerised by the action on the stage, and really, who wouldn’t be? Lead singer Dan Whitford of Cut Copy, a human dynamo, spent the whole evening waving his arms about enthusiastically, when he wasn’t playing his synth or running to around with his guitar or over to a synth-patch thingy with a multitude of wires poking out of it, sitting on the side of the stage (I know, I’m being so technical – all of this goes over my head – ask Pendulum or Delphic how this stuff works, they’ll sort you out). It was kind of funny, because Whitford and all of them really were almost too overly enthuasiastic. Guitarist Tim Hoey made me laugh when he started molesting his guitar, banging it against the stage, their drum kit, balancing it standing up on his open palm and then banging it just so to get a crash of guitar, etc. Um, who does that? But the crowd ate it up!

I think everyone present must have owned ‘Zonoscope’ because the new songs got as rapturous receptions as the old material: ‘Need You Now’ and ‘Take Me Over’ stood solid alongside ‘Lights and Music’ and ‘Hearts on Fire’. Dance music usually – and often understandably – gets a bad rap for lack of quality lyrics and with me not knowing much of Cut Copy’s earlier work, I giggled to myself to words like “please please please give your love to me” and “take my heart away / save it for another day”. Not knocking it, as I know lots of people love them, but a little bland for me. The actual live experience though was very good and I can imagine thousands of times better than their recordings. The energy was up, and that was no doubt thanks to the crowd who bopped along and jumped whenever Whitford organized the masses to do just that.

More photos and setlists behind the cut.

Holy Ghost! Set List
Wait and See
Hold On
It’s Not Over
Slow Motion
Do It Again
I Will Come Back
Jam for Jerry

Holy Ghost! Photos:

Cut Copy Set List
Visions / Nobody Lost, Nobody Found
So Haunted
Corner of the Sky
Lights and Music
Take Me Over
Pharoahs and Pyramids
Hearts on Fire
Sun God
Need You Now
Out There on the Ice

Cut Copy Photos:

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There Goes The Fear is where we tell you about the latest music, gigs, and tours we love and think you should too.

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TGTF was edited by Mary Chang, based in Washington, DC.

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