Heartbreak/The Presets/Cut Copy
October 8, 2008
The Showbox at the Market, Seattle, WA
Somewhere at the apex of Sydney and Melbourne, Australia, when the sun sets and darkness covers the land, neon blazes from the shuddering dance clubs, pulsating with what can best be described as a â€œDown Underâ€ dance renaissance. At the forefront of the movement are Sydneyâ€™s the Presets and Melbourne natives Cut Copy, purveyors of disco-fried, synth-slathered, electro-pop brilliance.
Yes, their beats are insistent. Yes, the glittering synthesizer squeals and sputters are a revelation unto themselves. And yes, itâ€™s the best damn pop music to surface from Australia (or anywhere) in the better part of a decade.
The Aussies, aside from being tour and label mates (on Modular Records), were refreshingly punctual. After the light-hearted (though no less emphatic), low-end heavy duo Heartbreak, it was time for the real theatrics.
The Presets. October 8th, Seattle
The Presetsâ€™ Julian Hamilton opened their set, steely-eyed, with the horror-show organs of â€œTalk Like That,â€ enticing the amped audience to swoon into lascivious motion. Drummer Kim Moyes pounded his skins with machine-like accuracy, his concentrated gaze unfazed throughout (though he would occasionally rise from his kit to rile the already touched crowd). Culling dark sounds from their recently released sophomore effort Apocalypso, the duoâ€™s menacing electronics inspired unadulterated revelry among the willing participants up front. The bandâ€™s touchstones–Depeche Mode mostly–were paid dutiful homage, in both sound and stage presence.
Headliner Cut Copy took the stage an unprecedented 10 minutes earlier than the posted set times. Front man Dan Whitfordâ€™s poise was simply unflappable; his longing looks into the audience postured and practiced to achieve maximum effect (which they did). â€œNobody Lost, Nobody Found,â€ all nimble bass and fluttering guitar overlaid with synchronous synth flourishes, injected things with adrenalized anticipation and immediate dance induction.
Cut Copy. October 8th, Seattle
Of course â€œLights and Musicâ€ would not have been complete without a choreographed light effects rainbow that strobed across the audience and backlit the band. The entire set itself was an epilepticâ€™s worst nightmare; and was it ever glorious! Other highlights from the bandâ€™s stellar 2008 release In Ghost Colours included the ever emphatic â€œOut There On The Ice,â€ sing-along â€œFeel The Love,â€ and, as Whitford was wont to describe as our â€˜last chance for a slow dance,â€™ the mid-tempo burner â€œSo Haunted.â€ Credit The Presets and Cut Copy for a thrilling performance at the tail end of their U.S. tour, and for most telling of all, actually getting Seattle to dance.