Cut/Copy transport Atlanta fans back to the 80s

Live review: Cut/Copy, Holy Ghost! at The Masquerade in Atlanta, 3/28/11

Australia’s Cut/Copy brought the eighties back to Atlanta on the kick-off to their world tour Monday night. It was all synth and hooks as near-riotous fans jumped and jammed to Cut/Copy’s reinvention of the New Wave decade. Obvious influences include Depeche Mode, New Order, and several other synthpop/new wave/post-punk bands you may remember from back then. Strangely enough, it works.

Touring in support of their third studio album Zonoscope (Modular Records), Cut/Copy are just out to make you dance. While selections were performed from their first two releases, Bright Like Neon Love (2004) and In Ghost Colours (2008), the night belonged to Zonoscope. The first single, “Need You Now,” is a pop song that no one can deny, as witnessed by the fanatical jumpers at the Masquerade that evening. The video is a mish-mash of athletes – in full uniforms and pads – playing every sport but their own, as the band plays their instruments in the midst of it all.

Leader and chief songwriter Dan Whitford (vocals, keyboard, guitar) has fashioned some musical gems and evolved beautifully over three studio albums. Remaining band members include Tim Hoey (guitar, sampler), Ben Browning (bass), and Mitchell Scott (drums). While they have honed their dance pop sound towards a more middle of the road dance pop sound, there is still that déjà vu for the eighties. Some may argue that Cut/Copy have simply copied the awesome sounds of that era, but it’s more of a 21st century eighties sound. Which is better. Besides, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, right?

After playing the Ultra Music Festival in Miami two nights earlier, Cut/Copy traveled to Atlanta to officially kick off their tour. “How do you all feel about Miami?” Whitford asked the crowd. The response was a mix of boos and cheers. “Well, we just played there and they seem like phoneys. You guys in Atlanta are real. Our kind of people.” This, of course, brought roars of approval from the fans. Talk about telling us what we wanted to hear.

“Take Me Over,” also a new track, was played with the gusto of any live song you’ve ever heard. The sold out Masquerade was under fire and the floor of the place somehow survived, as did all of us lucky humans inside that cavernous place (on the second floor ironically called Heaven). It was a good show.

Openers Holy Ghost! from Brooklyn stole the show before the headliners even got near the stage. With their highly danceable, new disco sound, Holy Ghost! brought down the house with such great songs as “Wait And See,” “Do It Again,” and “I Will Come Back,” which may be reminiscent of something off a Naked Eyes album from 1983, but way better.

Touring in support of their new self-titled record, Holy Ghost! appear to be hitting their stride as an in-demand band. Alex Frankel repeatedly thanked the heaving audience and passed along his appreciation for the “great fans” of Atlanta. Backed by James Murphy’s DFA Records, this band is in good hands and will undoubtedly gain more positive exposure as the tour continues.

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