Australian band Cut Copy have been winding down their American tour, and I was lucky enough to snag some tickets to finally see the talented Aussies. With opening acts Washed Out and Midnight Magic, I became even more excited as I walked through the doors of the Orange Peel and then suddenly stopped as I entered into the main part of the venue. Where the hell were the people? The show started at 9 p.m., and the clock was ticking closer to the beginning of the show. I looked around and counted maybe 30 bored hipsters, beer in disdainful hand. Sitting towards the back of the room, I waited until it was assumably cool enough to walk to the front of the stage and soon Midnight Magic hit the spotlight.
The ABBA-esque disco house band began their set with "What The Eyes Can See," which held a similar crescendo effect as Thelma Houston's "Don't Leave Me This Way." The climax was met with explosive vocals from lead singer Tiffany Roth, and enviable trumpet & saxophone skills from other bandmembers. Although Midnight Magic blazed through their songs with enough passion and energy to make Richard Simmons look sluggish, the crowd seemed restless about the unknown first act and glancing around at small crowd behind me, everyone seemed to be doing the same awkward half-dance half-sway movement. After Midnight Magic left the stage, the crowd size seemed to have suddenly increased and excited murmuring became louder and louder. Soon, Washed Out's Ernest Greene ran onto the stage and greeted the crowd with a huge smile, as he began to play hits from the band's latest album, "Within and Without." Greene was accompanied by 2 keyboardists, a bassist and a drummer for the live shows and their enthusiasm electrified the crowd. Slow, ethereal tunes like "Eyes Be Closed" with pulsating beats and soft synths set the audience in a trance, myself included.
While waiting for Cut Copy to take the stage, the atmosphere suddenly became charged with immense energy and the shoving-for-the-best-spot began. The 30 hipsters that had been wandering around aimlessly earlier had multiplied in numbers throughout the show, and Cut Copy seemed to have induced even more hipster cloning. While this was my first time seeing the band live, from their records I knew Cut Copy would be full of acid-rave meets chaos, and the crowd was acting no differently. As soon as frontman Dan Whitford took the stage, the bass kicked in and with every song from "Hearts On Fire," to "Feel the Love," Whitford jumped, kicked, and danced around as guitarist Tim Hoey jumped on the drumset, smacking the cymbals and then leaping off. The lurching, jumping crowd shrieked and reached for Whitford each time he raised his hand to the air, leaving the audience even more exhilarated and ecstatic than the last song. As Whitford precariously jumped back onto the drumset and off through, "Lights and Music," I couldn't help but marvel that these guys were ridiculously awesome showmen, and equally great musicians.
As the night ended in an encore and Cut Copy once again graced the stage, undoubtedly every heart was on fire in the audience that night.