By Anupa Mistry
In the sombre, post-LCD Soundsystem glow of this week, an absolutist would be forgiven for lamenting the end of sardonic dance-punk. But maybe the intense fandom for Cut Copy at last night’s Sound Academy show could at least serve as a tiny beacon of hope? Standing in the heady, thousand-strong crowd felt more like a Saturday night than a Thursday thing, the anticipation was so high. By show’s end, the Aussie electro-pop quintet would prove they’re as joyously fan-driven as LCD; everyone from the red-lipped, army-jacketed fashion girls to their boyfriends to the gays knew all of the words to all of the songs.
James Murphy’s NYC-based protégés Holy Ghost! opened to a full house; the band’s three-years-in-the-making, self-titled debut of clever, sweet, Casio-inspired pop was released this week. The last time Holy Ghost! came through Toronto was with Chromeo, and constant touring means they’ve gotten better at hooking a crowd. Through the strength of their set, which ended with the upbeat elegy “Jam For Jerry” (a tribute to late Brooklyn-scene fixture Jerry Fuchs), the show felt much more like a true double bill.
Though maybe it only seemed that way for the Holy Ghost! fans, because the crowd became tunnel-vision rapt as soon as Cut Copy bounded through a glowing, over-sized door set up mid-stage. Opening with “Nobody Lost, Nobody Found,” lead singer Dan Whitford, in a rolled-sleeve white button-down, moved everyone in the room through a well-chosen set of old and new material.
Four songs in came the playful, sing-along “Corner of The Sky” from the two-month-old Zonoscope, and it didn’t miss a beat with the frenzied audience. Immediately following was Cut Copy’s most popular song “Lights and Music,” making for a nice high point relatively early in the show.
Whitford isn’t the most charismatic frontman, but theatrically shouting “Toronto!” throughout the night proved rousing enough for the dancing crowd. And though the tactic of following up “Hearts on Fire” (everyone’s favourite) with the slow-percolating “Sun God” served to diminish the euphoric effect of a song so lusty, the latter track morphed into a hazy, hypnotic outro, culminating in a brief, one-note guitar solo by Tim Hoey before Cut Copy left the stage to roars. In the calm before the encore of “Out There on The Ice,” one girl, emboldened by a sip of Heineken yelled, “Play all your songs! Play everything!” to whoops and frantic pelvic-thrusts around her.