Live Review: Cut Copy soundtrack a hot summer’s night at Melbourne Zoo’s Twilight series

Like many Aussie music fans who spent their teen years or early 20’s with the likes of The PresetsMidnight Juggernauts and PNAU filling up their chunky iPods, Cut Copy was one of the bands at the forefront of Australian dance music in the early 2000s.

Bright Like Neon Love brought us “Saturdays” and “That Was Just a Dream”, while 2008’s In Ghost Colours – for me – was the album. “Lights and Music”, “Hearts on Fire”, “Feel The Love”, “So Haunted” and “Voice in Quartz”? It was a great time. So, fast forwarding through some years, the Zonoscope and Free Your Mind eras, Cut Copy grew into an internationally respected name within the genre and kept Australian audiences wanting more. Perhaps a smart move on the band’s behalf to relocate and keep Aussie tours at a minimum (comparatively speaking, anyway), when Cut Copy made their Australian return last year, understandably, people were out in droves to appreciate such a seminal act.

On Saturday night, I was able to see the Melbourne group perform back on home turf as part of the Melbourne Zoo Twilights program. The night was hot, only to get hotter on the Sunday, but the lawn area surrounding the stage was full of people and their picnic blankets, eskies and bottles of wine. Adelaide’s Electric Fields opened the show and unfortunately for them, they didn’t get the crowd they deserved. It’s always going to be a tough job, to rouse a crowd like this one, in the daylight, when your musical fare is driven by thumping beats, but Electric Fields just did what they do best. They’re going to have a huge year this year, so it’s fun to see them emerging on to more and more stages as these early months of 2018 take control.

Cut Copy’s set saw “Need You Now” herald an hour’s worth of dance tracks that brought as many nostalgic good vibes as they did excited ones for the new music to come from the group. Dan Whitford‘s David Byrne-esque presence on vocals, keyboard and guitar was great to see after such an absence from Australian crowds; “Airborne”, “Hearts on Fire” and “Free Your Mind” providing great moments – the latter in particular, kicking into great speed, reminding me instantly of Primal Scream‘s “Loaded”.

Cut Copy (Photo: Ian Laidlaw)

As a band, Cut Copy work as well together as they ever have. Of course, life and its habit of taking control over creative endeavours happens; Cut Copy are older, they’re clearly in a comfortable creative space where they’re still having fun with the older material, but there’s also an newly energised flair that drives the band’s more recent material, which is possibly more exciting as a long time fan to witness.

This was a great show to stay out in the heat for, and I really hope it’s not long before we see Cut Copy out on Australian shores again; it’s a reminder of what great dance music can do to a crowd, a real incensed sense of fun and groove.

The reviewer attended this show on January 27th. For more information about the Melbourne Zoo Twilight Series, visit their website here.

Photo by Ian Laidlaw.