The 9:30 Club erupted on Friday night with a double dose of dance-happy Australians. The Presets and Cut Copy, hailing from Sydney and Melbourne respectively, have helped populate the trendy dance-punk, electro-pop movement that has revived the popular 1980s synthesizer sound of bands such as New Order and Soft Cell. In the District, the synthesizer is again burning hot.
Following the opening act of the London-based Heartbreak, the Presets took the stage in front of a raucous sold-out crowd. The band’s electronic buzz quickly drove a sea of bouncing hands toward the ceiling as two roughly six-by-ten-foot rectangles of flashing lights paced the beat. Kim Moyes’s pounding drums built into a rumble with Julian Hamilton’s low, thunderous voice as he sang the anthemic “My People” and “This Boy’s in Love.” The duo’s pulsing beats also led various members of the crowd into a series of jumps, failed spins, and awkward shuffles—DC’s concert scene at its best.
Around 11:30, the headlining Cut Copy took the stage. The acclaimed band behind one of the year’s most well-received albums—In Ghost Colours—picked up where the Presets left off with energetic and crowd-pleasing renditions of tracks old and new. One of the most successful was the heavy disco of its 2004 sing-along single, “Saturday.” The four-piece group—composed of two guitarists, a drummer, and a keyboardist along with vocalist Dan Whitford—again drew the audience into a final mass fury for “Hearts on Fire” and “Lights and Music.”
Disco may be dead, but in the hands of a fuzzy synthesizer, it still shakes hips and moves feet.