Cut Copy - Marquee Theatre, Tempe - 11/6/13

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Cut Copy Marquee Theatre Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Australian synth-pop/new wave rockers Cut Copy made its long awaited return to Marquee Theatre last night in support of the band's forth full-length album, Free Your Mind. Cut Copy played an energetic hour-and-a-half set that embraced what a dance party should be about, even if it was at the expense of a large crowd.

Filling Marquee Theatre up to about half capacity isn't a bad thing by any means, in fact, I wouldn't be complaining if I didn't see the band play what was either a sold out show or pretty darn close to it in 2011. I'm not sure why last night's show didn't sell as well, but I do know for certain that the people who stayed home missed out.

Cut Copy performed a fair sampling of Free Your Mind last night. The songs felt a little unfamiliar, since the album was released a day before the show. I gave it a couple of listens before the show and wasn't immediately drawn to it like In Ghost Colors, but it definitely has potential, and that potential shined through last night.

The band opened with the title track from the new album, which received a lukewarm reception. The song sounded good, but the crowd seemed unsure of what to do until the song was followed with "Where I'm Going." A few people danced and quietly sang along, until the song reached its chorus and audience members threw their hands in the air and shouted, "yeah, yeah, yeah, woo!" at the top of their lungs.

The chant felt like something that would happen at a sporting event--the hometown hero just scored a goal at the big game and the crowd ate it up.

There were two upsides to Marquee Theatre not being very crowded last night--it was easy to get up to the stage, and fans had plenty of room to dance. As fun as it was to be up front, the show was arguably more enjoyable at a distance thanks to the visual effects. "Hearts on Fire" featured a red strobe light that functioned like a beating heart. The white lights during "So Haunted" were aimed directly at the audience, and pulsed in tune to the song.

Having a large area to dance came in handy last night, as the majority of the crowd turned into a dance floor. I've seen an attempt at this before, but it doesn't really work when you have limited space to move. Fans had ample space to dance, which sometimes made the people watching more interesting than the concert itself.

Older songs received the best reception from fans, which is not surprising, given that the album turns two days old today. The new songs sounded great live though, drawing on Cut Copy's new wave influences to play energetic '80s synth-inspired songs. A stand out track was "House of Love," which kicked off the encore. I'm sure in a few months, fans will embrace this song just as much as something like "Feel the Love."

Last night's show may not have had as large of a crowd as Cut Copy's last performance in Tempe, but the band consistently puts on a fun show. Of all the dance shows I have recently seen, this is definitely one of the best.

See more photos, stray observations, and the setlist on Page 3.

Critic's Notebook: Last Night: Cut Copy at Marquee Theatre. Personal Bias: It was my third time seeing Cut Copy and "Out There on the Ice" is my ringtone. The Crowd: Folks in their 30s who shivered outside, but quickly ditched jackets inside to dance. Overheard in the Crowd: variations of "oh my god, that was so good." Random Happening of the Night: Some guy came up to me and said, "You work for New Times, right?" and asked me to put on 3D glasses during "Lights and Music." Setlist: Free Your Mind Where I'm Going Feel the Love In Memory Capsule So Haunted Hearts on Fire That Was Just a Dream Far Away Strangers in the Wind Take Me Over Out There on the Ice Let Me Show You Love We Are Explorers Need You Now

Encore: House of Love Lights and Music

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