METROnome: Australian electronic band Cut Copy is better experienced than heard

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Fans crowd the front of the room as Cut Copy takes the stage. (Emily Liu/DD)
Fans crowd the front of the room as Cut Copy takes the stage. The Australian electronic band is known for singles “Lights & Music” and “Need You Now.” (Emily Liu/DD)

Walking into the Renaissance Phoenix Downtown Hotel, it was difficult to imagine that a Coachella veteran was about to perform. The atmosphere was classy, pristine and far from bustling with the activity of the typical rowdy concert crowd.

But heading upstairs, it became apparent a true hotel party was on its way to full blast. A disc jockey pumped up the crowd. The scent of alcohol filled the air. The stage was set.

Within a half-hour of my arrival, Grammy-nominated band Cut Copy began their Monday performance with a rush of electronic music that clearly signaled their arrival. Though suitable for their genre, the entrance seemed a bit tacky to me, mostly due to my cynicism at the start of the show.

I have never been a fan of any branch of the electronic genre. After listening to Cut Copy on YouTube to prepare myself for a review of the show, I was unimpressed. Naturally, when the performance started, I was not looking forward to what was coming.

My opinions started to turn around a few songs in when the band began to perform “Saturdays.” This was a song I found to be quite monotonous and overproduced in recording. But live, there was depth. Vocalist Dan Whitford sang with purposeful and varying tone, as well as persistent clarity. At this moment, I found a chance for the band to prove me wrong.

Cut Copy showed themselves off as true performers with “Need You Now.” While energetic might not be the right word to define the performance (this is a note on their suave demeanor, not a criticism), there was an electrifying element to the way they presented the song.

I was enjoying an electronic band.

Soon after, Cut Copy was off the stage. While I was not calling for an encore like the many adoring fans in the room, I was pleased to see the band quickly return — especially when I heard the song that was playing.

Meet Me in a House of Love” was the only Cut Copy song I found to be completely outstanding in my prior research of the band. In the show, the catchiness of the song was not lost in the blaring music. Cut Copy was in control of their music in all the best ways, and in turn, the audience responded with eager movements and singing. The band excited the fans, and the band excited me.

The band’s performance concluded with “Lights & Music.” Though ending with a hit single made it evident that the encore was planned, I couldn’t complain.

Whitford’s pitch never swayed as the band delivered the diverse beats of the song. The entire dynamic of the room transformed into a fully energetic setting as even the unengaged audience lounging in chairs stood to move to the beat. It was a perfect finale.

Though it’s doubtful I will be dancing and singing along to Cut Copy tunes in the near future, I must admit the band changed my viewpoint on electronic music, or at the least, their music. Despite the fact I would likely skip their songs if they were on my iPod shuffle, Cut Copy definitely knows how to put on a show.

Lesson learned: Always listen to a band live before you knock them.

Contact the columnist at Emily.Liu@asu.edu

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