Outside the concert venue, face flushed pink to match his undersized varsity jacket, Berndsen looked exultant.
Honestly, it was probably all the jumping—a pigmentary euphoria triggered by his onstage synthpop-hop and ensuing gulps of oxygen. I mean here the awkward, overstated stage presence that is as crucial to the charms of his Italo disco act as his kitsch, pó-mó wardrobe. But perhaps the blush was also tinted by pride—a well-deserved elation at having been chosen, according to a press release for the concert, by the headliners themselves to open the show. The main act being in this case Aussie electro band Cut Copy who, after touring extensively with powerhouses such as Franz Ferdinand and Daft Punk among others, gained international recognition with their sophomore release, ‘In Ghost Colors,’ which debuted at number one on the Austra-lian music sales charts in 2008 before going on to sell Gold.
À la the spirit of our times, Cut Copy is a band that feigns apathy while actually taking what they do wholly seriously—which is ironic, but not in the usual hipster sense. From the moment they stepped on stage at NASA they appeared wholesomely professional. With an affectation of effortlessness, they spun out electric rhythms tenaciously reworked to maturity to come in at the feet, not the ear.
‘So Haunted’ kicked off the show, one of the eight singles the band would go on to play out of a set of twelve songs from their three albums. It was a Wednesday night and attendance was fair for a weekday. By ‘Blink & You’ll Miss A Revolution,’ a young man was puking beside the bar. The band meanwhile looked sober and focused—their shirts soaked steadily with sweat, the set’s halfway point was flagged by the line of perspiration on Dan Whitford’s shirt (post-gig, the vocalist and frontman made a point of saying he showered immediately following every show.)
The live set was notably more raucous than the highly-produced studio versions of the band’s repertoire. Loud, and somewhat gritty, the live version was much more dynamic than one might have expected; it was everything it should have been: not simply a rehashing of the album, but a living, breath-ing creature of its own.
Alas, when a band is good—especially, when a band makes good on its promises… mainly, takes themselves seriously for the benefit of their music, rather than their ego, and appears to be enjoying themselves while doing it—one does not even want to do the only thing one can do for a band as an observer, which is to shower the experience with description. Rather the pen comes down, because the feet are moving. Red in the face, we find it all becomes simple again. Complicatedly effortless. Like love. Like lights. Like music.