Photos by Michael Forester
It was Invasion of Oz at Record Bar in Kansas City when Cut Copy and The Presets took hold of the stage and the crowd. The show was sold out and I was warned by Forester, my trusted photographer friend, to arrive early. Normally I'd react to this with a nonchalant "whatevs," but I wanted to be on time since I was looking forward to both bands.
Forester had been reserving a spot for us for the past hour and half when I arrived. In my defense, I had a night of insomnia that resulted in a mere three hours of sleep and knew I'd need some help to make it through the night. While he was holding spots I was off doing shotsâ€¦of espresso and then Red Bull (OK, OK, there was some vodka mixed in). I did manage to arrive right before The Presets took the stage. The venue wasn't as packed as I thought it would be. When The Presets started the place was at half capacity.
The Presets began with "Talk Like That", and the live drums, LED lights, brooding vocals, and dark synth translated well in a live setting. By the fourth song the crowd was packed in tight and I was ready for another Vodka and Red Bull. I squeezed away from the front of the stage and over to the bar. I could hear the vocoder vocals perfectly. During "Hearts on Fire" everyone was bouncing in an old school punk rock pogo, and the venue had a dark, electro, and sexy vibe.
Apparently there were a lot of people who figured they could come in late just to see Cut Copy and that would be sufficient. In my opinion, these people were wrong. The Presets put it out there. But the crowd became ruthless when it was time for Cut Copy. I tried to make my way towards the stage with a friend to get a better grasp of their live show and my friend was pushed out of the way by a very stubborn and aggressive girl. She reasoned that she had driven nearly four hours for the show and she refused to make room for anyone. The people around us told me they had driven nine hours to see the band. They had seen Cut Copy at Monolith and were now following them around. Cut Copy fans are, apparently, quite serious about being close to the band. It wasn't about full-on dancing as much as moving slightly and staring at the band intently. I mingled with them for awhile and then had to go out on the patio to get some breathing room (carcinogens included).
The people on the patio were dancing along as they smoked and sent text messages. A few people who couldn't get into the show were standing outside and listening. Cut Copy sounded as good outside as they did inside so I decided to hang out on the patio for the rest of the show. The people on the patio were less aggressive. It was like a safety zone.
When I made my way inside it was obvious that Cut Copy was still wowing the crowd. The ambience of the night had this energy that seemed to penetrate everyone that was there.
Although I will probably piss off quite a few Cut Copy fans (and even though I know it's not a competition), I have to say that while Cut Copy put on a great live show it was The Presets that melted my face the most. Cut Copy is still on tour, so if you see them don't shove people out of the way (no matter how far you drove) and be sure to get there in time to check out The Presets.