Cut Copy at First Avenue, 6/25/14

Categories: Last Night
Photo By Anna Gulbrandsen

Cut Copy
with Classixx and Nile Delta
First Avenue, Minneapolis
Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Feeling alive is feeling a pulsating bassline deep in your chest. Australian electro-rock outfit Cut Copy brought plenty of their relentlessly upbeat rhythms and life-affirming jams to First Avenue on Wednesday night, turning the club into a nonstop dance party that had everyone freeing their minds and getting down.

Throughout the quartet's vibrant 80-minute set, they had the crowd in the palm of their hands, setting them off with synth-laden hooks that borrowed equally from the musical styles of the past 30 years.

The band took to the stage bathed in tranquil blue lights, as they eased into the simmering charms of "We Are Explorers." Frontman Dan Whitford served as a rousing cheerleader and ringleader for the sonic circus. He held his hands aloft to not only connect further with the crowd, but to also clue them in that the beat was about to drop.

Cut Copy haven't played Minneapolis since a First Ave gig with Holy Ghost in 2011, so they had a lot of lost time to make up for. A majority of the start of the show was dedicated to Free Your Mind material, the band's celebrated, psych-drenched 2013 album that was inspired by the Summers of Love in both San Francisco in 1967 and London in 1988-89. With "free your mind" emblazoned in bold lowercase Helvetica on a large screen behind the band, songs like the title track and "In Memory Capsule" unfolded dynamically, with the latter taking on an Erasure-like pulse that gradually gave way to a cacophonous wall of guitar feedback.

Photos By Anna Gulbrandsen

The well-paced set continued fluidly, with barely a break for the dancing crowd to catch their collective breath. The dexterous band -- rounded out by Tim Hoey on guitar/keys/sampler, Mitchell Scott on drums, and Ben Browning on bass/percussion -- expertly straddle many different genres with their sound, oftentimes within the same song. A track like "So Haunted" bounces between the punk-fueled chaos of their discordant guitars but still manages to be quite catchy and danceable. The Pet Shop Boys-esque "Hearts on Fire" infuses an infectious disco beat into a mercurial synth-driven sound that blossoms majestically into a spirited anthem that everyone -- from pop lovers to hard rock fans to goth introverts -- can all groove along to.

Cut Copy are what New Order might have sounded like had they grown up in the sunny, waterfront modern elegance of Melbourne instead of the bleak, rainy urban moodiness of eternally grey Manchester (and without Joy Division's dark, tragic origins). Their songs all are easy to connect with, especially massive, affection-laden odes on the new album like "Let Me Show You Love" and "Meet Me in a House of Love," which served as buoyant, warmhearted bookends to In Ghost Colours' epic lead-off track, "Feel the Love."

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