Futuristic sounds met refined and revisited '80s sights inside the cavernous Turner Hall Thursday night, as Cut Copy stopped in Milwaukee to promote its third studio album, "Zonoscope."
Cut Copy's on-stage energy and intensity belie the Melbourne band's sleek, sophisticated dance sound, built with chiming guitars, soaring synthesizers and rhythmic percussion.
Frontman Dan Whitford commands the stage as though there's no place he'd rather be. His spindly arms become theatrical props as he slams the air around him with his fists, reaches out to the audience to invite them in and throws a hand with a pointed finger to punctuate a sound.
"Saturdays" from "Bright Like Neon Love," provided the perfect example: virtually everyone in the near-capacity crowd was dancing and throwing their arms in the air, as literally directed by Whitford.
Whitford's bandmates are far from stage-slouches themselves. Guitarist Tim Hoey poured himself into every note, and each band member sweat his way through his respective, light-colored oxford shirt.
And Milwaukee provided a worthy audience. A couple of people were body-passed during "Hearts on Fire," a very New Order-tinged, highly danceable track from "In Ghost Colours." (Yes, really).
A couple of women made their way onto the stage to dance to "Need You Now," the band's new single and one of two songs Cut Copy offered up in its encore. (The band members were unfazed by the on-stage guests, but a security guard promptly guided the two women back to their spots on the floor).
Cut Copy enjoyed the opening support of Washed Out, the operational alias for Atlanta, Ga.'s Ernest Greene, who delivers a tight, soaring synth-pop sound. (If you're a fan of the IFC series "Portlandia," you already know the Washed Out song "Feel It All Around," which serves as the show's theme song).
Washed Out had the Turner Hall crowd on its feet and bobbing along throughout its set.
The Brooklyn-based band Midnight Magic started the night with its melange of funk, disco, electro and soul.
Cut Copy, Washed Out and Midnight Magic are all slated to play the 2011 Pygmalion Music Festival tonight, Sept. 23, in Champaign-Urbana, Ill.
Velia Tarnoff counts among the loves of her life her daughter, her husband, her friends, writing, developing theories, dancing, live music, Southern California, black coffee and red wine. She's happiest when she can put as many of those together as possible. WWith more than 20 years of experience as a radio reporter and public relations professional, Velia is a natural communicator who loves to hear stories, to share stories and to tell it like it is.
Velia earned her B.A. from the UW School of Journalism and is thankful for every moment she spent on that wonderfully wacky campus.
And, in the interest of full disclosure, Velia is the wife of OnMilwaukee.com Publisher Andy Tarnoff.