At about fifteen minutes to show time for the Cut Copy and Palmbomen II show, the staff at the Corona Theatre outnumbered the fans that had arrived. Security stood guard to an empty floor, and bartenders feigned conversation as one of them wiped down the bar with a damp cloth, probably for the tenth time. Just as I began to sympathize with the opening act, envisioning them playing to the ghosts of the Corona Theatre, people started to file in and warm up the room.
Based out of Los Angeles, DJ Palmbomen II (in some places, listed as only Palmbomen) kicked things off with some down-tempo electronica. Spinning tracks from his modest turntable, he would slowly add textures to songs that would build up anticipation but never truly explode into any bass drops or heavy breakdowns, similar to European acts like Tosca or Bonobo. As Palmbomen II built up mid-textured beats, he would do a two-step, swaying shuffle with his feet that served as a fitting example of how to get down to this music. Many in the crowd did the same, ambling on the dance floor in a trance-like state.
Perusing the crowd, I witnessed what will certainly be one of my most cherished memories. While hitting some slick dance moves, in some dapper dress pants and shoes, one crowd member produced a shiny apple from his pocket and snacked without missing a step! It was an apt metaphor for Palmbomen II’s set – danceable and chill at the same time. Each song flowed seamlessly into the next, and the set felt like one big dance number with a thousand different layers. As the set neared conclusion, Palmbomen II tore off his sweater to reveal some dope suspenders. He was truly chill as fuck, and without saying a word, gave the crowd a slight bow, hands together in prayer position, and headed back stage. Set over!
As Q Lazzarus’ “Goodbye Horses” faded from the loud speakers and Melbourne, Australia’s Cut Copy lunged onto the stage, the crowd switched from the two-step trance dance to some more upbeat disco pop dancing. Singer and keyboardist Dan Whitford, rocking a crisp white t-shirt, set immediately to getting the crowd clapping to “Need You Now” off of 2011’s Zonoscope. This was followed by “Black Rainbows” off their latest release Haiku From Zero, it was clear from the get go we’d be getting a well balanced mix of old and new. Bassist Ben Browning and guitarist Tim Hoey, aside from playing their main instruments, employed various percussion tools and loads of synth as they pranced around stage matching the crowd’s fervour. Drummer Mitchell Scott was a rock on the kit, serving up disco-laden beats with the greatest of ease. I was utterly impressed at how Cut Copy was able to pristinely recreate their recorded sound to a live audience. We were also treated to a first as they played “No Fixed Destination” for the first time live! It already has the feel of a classic jam.
Cut Copy continued to mix up their repertoire through the second half of the set, with “Future,” “Pharaohs and Pyramids,” and “Hearts on Fire.” Whitford ensured there was no dip in the energy level, his hands in the air pumping to the beat. The crowd followed suit, maintaining its already feverish pace. Cut Copy could do no wrong on this night. Every song was welcomed with cheers of exuberance. The new material felt fresh, but somehow at the same time familiar. My earlier fears upon entering the venue that this was to be a modestly attended show were washed away in the waves of synth-pop glamour and the mass of dancing crowd members. The set ended with “Lights and Music,” and my feet and legs were noticeably sore from moving the entire night, but the warm fuzzy glow I felt inside from a night of glamorous live music told me it was going to be ok, the pain would pass and the glow would stay with me.
Written by Lee Ferguson
Photography by Thomas Gentil
*edited by Kate Erickson