“Hearts on Fire” surprisingly didn’t define Cut Copy’s set at the Ogden Theatre on Tuesday night. But, by the time they played the hit, they had a sold out crowd completely under a spell — rapt as if it were Sunday morning at a church tent revival. But this church was led by front man Dan Whitford’s smooth, alluring vocals and the regenerated ‘80s synth pop the Australian group is famous for, rather than charismatic cacophony.
This service was steeped in the deep, throbbing base of acid house and mixed under strobes and spotlights that pulsated with such abandon that the only miracle was a lack of seizures in the congregation.
Starting from opening songs “Take Me Over” and “Feel the Love,” the packed house sang along with just about all of Whitford’s vocals — matching every “Ooooo-woo-ooo.” As the touring five piece band moved through songs from the new record, including “Need You Now” and “Hanging Onto Every Heartbeat,” the audience became more and more loose, and more of the packed throng began to gyrate — almost uncontrollably.
As if to break any remaining ice, Tim Hoey began to tear into his guitar in a definitive shoegaze style (with an unlikely Black Rebel Motorcycle Club sound) to lead into “So Haunted,” and brought the crowd along.
The hypnotic “Lights and Music” and “Need You now” erupted later, followed by “Saturdays.” The progression was working some serious dance magic on the crowd — proof of Cut Copy’s growth into their own rave-acid-dance style. That magic successfully won over any stragglers from wallflowers to solid, ecstatic dancers before it was over.
By the time the group played the anticipated “Hearts on Fire,” the audience was primed and ready, and they exploded in kind — and again and again as the show went on.
Washed Out — moniker for Ernest Greene’s chillwave bedroom project — opened in the form of a six-person band, all lined up along the front of the large stage. Their cool, swarming style was the perfect primer for Cut Copy’s more pronounced set, and seemed to set the energy well into the right direction.
Nathan Iverson is a Denver photographer and regular contributor to Reverb.