Cut Copy with Washed Out
Oct. 12, 2011
Palladium, Los Angeles
Starting the performance 10 minutes late and ending the set 15 minutes early, buzz band du jour Washed Out put on as good a set as possible given their brief time onstage. Chillwave musician Earnest Greene performed as his nom de plume with a four-piece ensemble, which made the otherwise dull set semi-lively. Although the huge crowd was excited at first, the lackluster five-song performance had people leaving the main room and heading to the bar. Aside from the occasional head bob and body sway, the performers were practically lifeless onstage.
For a humbling 24 minutes, Greene and his ensemble stood near-motionless while playing their instruments. The most movement and interaction with the crowd came when one of the ensemble members grabbed his camera and took a picture of the crowd from behind his synth. It was only then that the crowd threw their arms up in the air and began jumping up and down to try to get into the photo.
Having a sound that is a fusion of Coldplay and chillwave synth-pop, I expected a lot more from the band. Performing songs off the album Within and Without, as well as the EP Life of Leisure, the highlight of the set (if you can even call it that) came when the band performed "New Theory." It's an excellent song, but the way it was rendered changed my perspective about the song and group in general. Washed Out was such a disappointment, and despite the fact I've heard only great things about Greene, I was ultimately let down by the protracted set.
After Washed Out exited, the crowd at the Palladium clearly craved mas energy. The audience in the hot, sweaty venue began impatiently chanting, loudly, for Cut Copy. As soon as the Aussies stepped foot onstage, the lights went down and the glow sticks went up. From the moment the band started with "Take Me Over" from the brilliant album Zonoscope, the whole crowd looked like they were on pogo sticks.
With the unusual rhythms of the opening song and its Talking Heads-ish vibe, lead singer Dan Whitford took over the stage with incredible vigor. Playing the keyboard while swinging his hips and using theatrical hand motions during every song, Whitford was exactly what the crowd was looking for.
The Aussies stepped up the juice during the second half of the set when Whitford and his band played the hit song "Lights & Music." It sent the crowd into a dancing frenzy. The fist-pumping crowd danced and jumped so hard the chandeliers were shaking. Throughout the song, water bottles and glow sticks flew everywhere, which made security crazy. At one point, I saw six security guards rush onto the floor and disappear into the sweaty abyss, attempting to stop the madness, but there wasn't much they could do.
Unlike the band that played before them, Cut Copy paced the show with contrasts and lead-ins from song to song. The best lead-in was when the song "Sun God" built into a cascade of melodic electronic sounds that resembled an angry Depeche Mode mashed with a dark version of Franky Goes to Hollywood.
Cut Copy put on a hell of a performance at the Palladium last night. The vitality throughout their set was incredibly high, and the band played flawlessly. The groove was practically nonstop during the show, making for an electrifying dance party.
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Critic's Bias: I always think Dan Whitford puts on an amazing hip-shaking, spirit-finger-and-fist-pumping performance.
Overheard in the Crowd:
"You shouldn't encourage drunk girls to take pictures."
"Everyone looks like a hybrid of jumping beans and bunny rabbits"
Random Notebook Dump: At one point, a girl came up behind me, spilled her drink everywhere, started dancing, carefully placed her purse down next to her, and then walked (stumbled) away.
Cut Copy Setlist:
Take Me Over
Feel the Love
Hanging Onto Every Heartbeat
Corner of the Sky
Lights & Music
Blink and You'll Miss a Revolution
Pharaohs and Pyramids
Hearts On fire
Need You Now
Out There On the Ice