Cut Copy, with DJ Knightlife and Matt & Kim
Sunday, March 15, 2009
Better Than: Most shows I've seen in the last 12 months.
The lights lowered in the house as Matt & Kim took stage and then came back up as the pair launched into what sounded like a weird cover of an old hip-hop song I couldn't name. But after a short foray into that territory, they stopped and profusely thanked the crowd for being there and told us that this tour with Cut Copy has been one dance party after another. Then the duo set about proving it with every song. I'd never seen Matt & Kim before, so I was pleasantly surprised at how cheerful and upbeat they were without it seemingly even remotely fake or calculated. They performed "Yeah Yeah," "Cut Down" and "Daylight" with such passion it would take a truly withered and jaded soul to not like their set.
Near the end, Matt & Kim performed the synth part to "The Final Countdown" by Europe and had some fun with it, along with the crowd. The act closed with "Silver Tiles," which Matt dedicated to their friends, at which point Kim got up from her drum kit and dedicated the song to Rhinoceropolis, the DIY space where they had their first shows in Denver. Some of us applauded the gesture. During the song, Matt stepped off the stage on to the hands of the crowd and had enough support that he was able to stand straight up and sing at least one complete chorus and then, when he got back to the stage, he informed us that such attempts had never worked that well before.
Cut Copy made a dramatic entrance amid escalating light and sound and then went right into "Hearts on Fire." Having seen live footage, I'd expected the band to be good, but there was a forceful intensity to its stage presence that was instantly riveting. The light show was perfectly calculated to highlight the moods and the dynamism of the band, and it made what are already excellent songs powerful. Dan Whitford told us that "Sands of Time" was the newest and most requested song of the tour, and the band performed it in the middle of the set rather than during an encore. The shockingly vibrant guitar interplay between Whitford and Hoey during "Unforgettable Season" and "So Haunted" made it sound like we were seeing a band that was more plugged in to a My Bloody Valentine vibe rather than a synth-pop type of thing.
During the set, Cut Copy performed "We Fight for Diamonds," "Far Away" and "Feel the Love" with complete conviction and a sense of playfulness. After twelve songs, including a number of tracks from the first record, the band left the stage and came back for a three-song encore, closing with an especially exuberant version of "Lights and Music." All in all, it would hard for me to name a better show I've yet seen.
Personal Bias: I miss the days when pop music wasn't completely devoid of meaningful musical and lyrical content. Both Cut Copy and Matt & Kim are living proof that those days never really left.
Random Detail: My friend Annie Murphy (no relation) came with me to the show.
By the Way: Tim Hoey really does play a Fender Jazzmaster near the end of "Hearts on Fire."
Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.