Cut Copy & The Holidays – The Palace Theatre, 5th of May

You know you’re in for a treat at a gig when the stage has more lights than you can count. Or can be bothered counting. And to simply say it was a night of ‘Lights and Music’ would be such, such an understatement (as well as a terrible pun, one I would never, ever use). Where do I begin? Opening the night were Sydney indie pop-rockers The Holidays. Supporting, Cut Copy, one of Australia’s biggest dance acts will place pressure on any band, but The Holidays pulled off the entire manoeuvre with style and conviction. Their excessive percussion setup (bongos, congas, tambourines and xylophones) worked really well with their delay driven guitars and dreamy vocals. The final song set the crowd dancing, and ready for the main act. Cut Copy entered with finesse and impeccably ironed shirts. Their stage setup was excessively awesome and a little bit mysterious at the beginning of their set. The raised platform near the back of the stage (on which bassist Ben Browning and drummer Mitchell Song were propped up on) had a strange construction in the centre of it; a tall, rectangular panel. It wasn’t until well into the set that I realised that it was in fact a weird looking LED display that would show mind-blowing animated artwork during certain songs. The reason it worked so effectively was because it was used sparingly, without diluting its awesomeness. In fact the entire stage setup was superb, with hundreds of different lights used throughout, always in strong unison with the music. What I found truly impressive about their performance however, is Cut Copy’s attention to the detail in their sound, the ability to get the shade on every different effect perfectly right. Perhaps Tim Hoey on guitar/percussion/sampler/backing vocals demonstrated this the most impressively. His freakish control of his pedals meant that his guitar often sounded less like a guitar and more like a futuristic atmospheric orchestra condensed into a single instrument. A perfect example is my personal highlight of the night, the 15-minute epic, ‘Sun God’. The extended instrumental in the song left the crowd speechless; the build-up was perfect, with every band member contributing to a complex mix of sampling, guitar and percussion. The song climaxed when Tim repeatedly stuck a drumstick underneath the strings of his guitar, between the pickups and then jerked it out on the beat, to release a crazy blast of atmospheric soundwaves! The crowd swooned. Furthermore, the set list displayed a comprehensive mix of both new and old, and there was not one, but two encores! Evidently still riding the tidal wave created by the release of their recent album Zonoscope, Cut Copy not only got the crowd dancing, they did it with artistic elegance and musical perfection. – Andy SzollosiPhotography: Robert Vandali


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