Pitchfork Music Festival 2011, Sunday: Cut Copy
Like DJ Shadow on Saturday night building us up for Fleet Foxes, the feel-good dance vibes from Aussies Cut Copy were the perfect send-up to Pitchfork closers TV on the Radio (who absolutely stunned, by the way). The entire day was a scorcher and Cut Copy's 7:25 set time was the first where it wasn't too hot to do anything save hide in the shade. And it showed: The crowd was ready to dance. Stepping onstage dressed as if they just got off a J.Crew photo shoot, the buttoned up and dapper dance rockers wasted no time, kicking right into "Feel the Love," an acoustic guitar-driven dance number that is a perfect signifier of what sets singer Dan Whitford and his band apart. Cut Copy is steeped in dance beats, but that doesn't stop them from working healthy amounts of new wave, post-punk and alternative threads into their tapestry of sound.
Take "Where I'm Going," the band's second song of the night. With a galloping, almost country cadence, it's definitely a departure from the Cut Copy we're used to. But hearing that swing live had the crowd singing (or doing their best anyway, most of the way through the third day, many of us were having trouble staying in tune) and raising their fists with each "yeah!" and "whoo" that peppers the song's chorus. It's funny, seeing these guys up there—by now they'd sweated all the way through those preppy threads—you'd almost think they hailed from Berlin; with their matching outfits and slightly stiff gesturing, I caught a whiff of Kraftwerk.
Fresh off their stellar new Zonoscope LP, Cut Copy focused on that material, and you weren't hearing any complaints. The songwriting isn't anything that commands deep chin-scratching but in this setting it excelled. The percussive workouts had a tribal quality that loosened everyone crowding the stage. Tracks like "Hanging onto Every Heartbeat," "Take Me Over" and forthcoming single "Blink and You'll Miss the Revolution"—with its hint of fellow Aussies Men At Work—had the perfect propulsiveness to get us all dancing. With "Hearts On Fire" there was even a rush to the stage as Whitford implored us to all go crazy with him. We obliged.
And then they let us down easy, with the soothing midtempo Italo stutter of "Need You Now." One of the standout slow burners on the new record, the ethereal quality builds to an understated crescendo and then fades into the night. The sun had just gone down and it was time for TV on the Radio, after all.