It’s been tough for me to enjoy Washed Out’s performance post-show. Not because they were bad (far from it), and that they didn’t sound good (they sounded great). It’s just that Cut Copy walked out on stage, threw down a royal flush, and yelled “Beat that!”
Matt prepared me ahead of time for this show, claiming that Cut Copy stole the show at this year’s Pitchfork Festival. After seeing that lineup and hearing those words, I knew that their concert with Washed Out at the Town Ballroom in Buffalo on September 15 wouldn’t even come close to being a disappointment.
I missed the opening band, Midnight Magic, but made sure not to miss one second of Washed Out. It felt exciting to see Ernest Greene perform songs from Within and Without, one of the most talked about albums of 2011 in the indie scene. And the fact that he abandoned his sample setup and replaced it with a live band made the anticipation even greater. Greene was in prime form–running out on stage, enticing the crowd with claps and shooting right in to “Hold Out.”
What we got from Greene and co. was a six-song set that contained a majority of songs from his groundbreaking EP, Life of Leisure. The two songs played from his debut full-length – “You & I” and “Eyes Be Closed” – transitioned nicely from Greene’s samples to the rhythm section and multiple keyboardists he performed with. While the Within and Without songs sounded great, it was “Feel It All Around” and “You’ll See It” from his EP that were the highlights of his set, sounding as they were plucked straight from the album and given a shot of intensity that reverberated throughout the venue. A short set indeed, but it was hard to hold back the crowd’s excitement for what was coming up.
Cut Copy emerged from the mist, stepped into the dull lights, and immediately kicked into electro-funk of “Take Me Over.” What the crowd experienced from that point on was a mix of rock ‘n’ roll, 80’s new wave, and rave-like rhythmic jolts that morphed the Town Ballroom into a sauna. The band was foaming at the mouth and feeding off of the crowd’s energy which never tapered until the house lights came on at the end. While frontman Dan Whitford danced, snapped, and fist-pumped, guitarist Tim Hoey would trash his guitar and then jump up on the drumkit to smash a few cymbals. All the while, the crowd continued to egg them as we all jumped around like the floor was one those inflatable bouncers.
The set contained a majority of Cut Copy’s best numbers, but the show truly reached a head when “Lights & Music” began. The strobe-light flickered throughout the feedback, and when the opening bass riff struck, the crowd erupted in synch while yellow and purple lights painted the room. This act repeated itself, not just throughout the rest of the song but for the remainder of the act. On other dance numbers such as “Pharaohs & Pyramids,” “Blink and You’ll Miss a Revolution,” and “Heart’s on Fire,” the crowd continued its jovial wave across all three levels of the venue where I don’t think one person was standing still, bartenders included. Ending the night accordingly, Cut Copy returned for an encore consisting of “Where I’m Going” and “Need You Now” – a perfect serenade to end what was the most energetic and entertaining concert experience of the year for me, so far.
I have not been to a ton of concerts this year, but out of the ones I have been to, I have not left a show feeling as exuberant and inspired as I did after this show. For the drive back to Rochester, I did not need any coffee as my backseat driver. All I needed were memories of the show and my copy of In Ghost Colours blaring to get me home.