A late arrival and slight confusion in getting my photo pass resulted in me missing 95% of opening act Midnight Magic. By the time I was able to squeeze as close to front and center that I was getting, their set came to an end, albeit with a very full stage as the Brooklyn nine piece was joined by members of Washed Out and Cut Copy in celebration of their final show together after a two month tour. Despite only having to set up a minimal amount of equipment, it was a solid 45 minutes before Washed Out took the stage for their first SD show in some time. About a year and a half ago lead man Ernest Greene brought his act to Sushi Arts where he was joined on stage by his laptop and occasionally by tour partners Small Black as a backing band. At 2010's FYF fest, he had lost the band, but added a synthesizer and drum machine. With the recent release of the exceptional Within and Without there was an apparent intention to duplicate the layered sound of the album on this tour which required the addition of a drummer, a guitarist and backing vocals and another synth. The desired result was achieved as the now five piece added a near- tangible feel to the blissed out sounds of the studio tracks, most evident in set closer 'Eyes Be Closed'.
It's easy to define Cut Copy as a synth pop band heavily influenced by the sounds of the 80's. This would be a mistake as, while the quick summary is true at it's base, they are sososo much more than that. When I first picked up 2008's In Ghost Colors, I was instantly hooked by the then-unique uptempo stylings that fused the best parts of techno music with guitar, synthesizer, accompanying vocals and kit work. It wasn't until I (finally) had the opportunity to see them at this year's Coachella that I understood how these sounds translated into a live setting. Amazingly well would be an understatement- they damn dear blew the roof of the Mojave tent during their just-past-sunset time slot. The only issue for the show at 4th & B was how well their sound would work in an indoor setting. After another 45 minute wait between sets, the four (sometimes five) piece strolled onto stage and got to work. The nice thing about bands that impose a three song limit on taking pictures is that they usually give at least a taste of their stage presence and lighting rigs for the photographers before they have to pack up. Cut Copy interestingly chose to go in the other direction, starting off their set with acoustic guitars accompanied by marginal house lighting. As I had positioned myself in the front row behind the photo pit, I was able to keep my spot after the pit had been cleared, but when I attempted to sneak a few shots after the third song finished, a very large security guard told me in certain terms that he would be more than happy to hold on to my camera for the rest of the show if he saw me doing that again. My disappointment was increased slightly when soon thereafter, the band kicked it up several notches and the lights and lasers setup was fired up. These circumstances did allow me to get a little loose and focus on the music instead of the performance, though, which is always appreciated. Lead man Dan Whitford is undoubtedly the face of the band as he takes most of the vocal duties and leads his mates through their paces from the center of the stage. The show, however, is centered around guitarist Tim Hoey. As soon as he traded his acoustic for an electric he was a non-stop ball of energy, barely contained by the boundaries of the stage. Combine that sort of stage presence with an incredibly well executed performance and you have something special. It may have been a case of them feeding off of the energy that was being put out, but the band was clearly having a great time which culminated in a pair of encores (apparently only the second time they'd ever done that!) for a very appreciative crowd.
For more pictures from the show click here and the rest of my concert photography click here.
All images licensed by Nate Vandermeulen under Creative Commons- BY-NC
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