Tag Archive: Chicago

Cut Copy

Lollapalooza music festival. August 7th, 2010.  Grant Park, Chicago.  Sears tower and other skyscrapers line the outskirts of the park, but inside is a different vibe — grungy hippies, college students, older couples, and even babies equipped with earplugs.

7:30 p.m.  It’s getting dark but you can still see the congested crowd on the pavement — some sitting in a circle smoking cigarettes, some taking swigs of their vodka handles, some hyping themselves up — but all waiting for Cut Copy.

Cut Copy is from Melbourne, Australia, drawing its influence from the 80s, with most of their songs considered to be “synthpop.”  My favorite album is In Ghost Colours because there’s a good variety on the disc — upbeat, electronic-type songs that you can’t help but dance to, and some slower songs with beats still powerful enough to make you move.  The video I posted, a song called “Hearts on Fire,” is a good mixture of both.  It has some suspenseful build-ups and then eruptive beats that unleash your inner dance moves.

I couldn’t have asked for a better crowd during Cut Copy’s performance at Lollapalooza this past summer.  Everyone jumped in sync to the songs, calmed down during the build-ups, and then went crazy when the beat started again. Front man Dan Whitford, dressed in a silk button down shirt and dress pants, got the crowd going by dancing across the stage and lifting his arms up.  The lights synchronized to the beat and mirrored the crowd’s movements.  Just look at the YouTube video and you can see the excitement that spanned across the crowd standing in front of the PlayStation stage.

For a full hour, I danced and mouthed the words to Cut Copy songs as the sun set and darkness settled over Grant Park, brightening the light show that added to the performance.

Cut Copy is releasing a new album due in January that is yet to be titled.  In the past, Cut Copy has gotten inspiration for its albums from a lot of acid house era, post-rave indie music, but this new album seems to incorporate a different type of sound. In an interview with Pitchfork, Dan Whitford said that he “had this idea of getting a choir and some strings to add an extra dimension to some songs.”

Go check out the single they released from their new album called “Where I’m Going.”  It has a Beatles feel and is a lot different from other songs of theirs, such as “Saturday” and most of the tracks off of In Ghost Colours.

Lollapalooza only reinforced my love for Cut Copy and their versatile music.  When I listen to their songs I can literally just feel the beat acting as a ventriloquist for my dance moves — I can’t help but dance. Watching the crowd around me in Grant Park just solidified my belief that Cut Copy’s music does the same thing for many others.

My top 5 Cut Copy songs are “Saturday”, “Hearts on Fire”, “Lights and Music”, “Out there on the Ice”, and “Time Stands Still”.  Whether you’re walking to class, trying to get a party started, or dancing in front of the mirror, Cut Copy is the perfect remedy for those who just want to dance.

– Sarah Diedrick

And the winner is… John Hughes

John Hughes, 1950-2009

The Academy of Arts and Sciences made history this year. Kathryn Bigelow became the first woman to win the best filmmaker award for The Hurt Locker.  The Academy picked Mo’Nique for her role in Precious, becoming only the fourth African-American woman to win an Oscar.  And Avatar won the award for best cinematography.  Strange though, that most of it was created in a computer…

But one of the biggest winners of the night came from someone who never won a gold statue.  A surprising tribute was delivered to the late John Hughes from stars of his biggest films, including Matthew Broderick, Molly Ringwald, Macaulay Culkin and Ally Sheedy.

Frequently underestimated and criminally unappreciated, Hughes was the ultimate Hollywood outsider. He didn’t make movies in New York or Europe either, choosing instead to film in Chicago.  In case you’d forgotten, Chicago is in the Midwest.  You could even go so far as to say that Chicago was a character in Hughes’ films, as it does in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (‘86).  And of course, Steve Martin wants nothing more than to get back to the Windy City in Planes, Trains, and Automobiles (‘87), even if it means going cross-country with John Candy (“Those aren’t pillows!”).

Hughes will always be known for making ‘80s teen movies.  But if anyone doubts his status as a great filmmaker, please observe that movies like Sixteen Candles (’84) or The Breakfast Club (’85) didn’t exist before Hughes and nobody’s made any quite like them since.  Hughes was one of the first writer/directors to deal with the teenage American experience with honesty and realism. He showed the brutality, even cruelty of teenage life and he did it with a light touch.  I’m still mesmerized when Cameron begins violently kicking the hood of his father’s Ferrari in Ferris Bueller.  My stomach turns when it punches through the garage window.  And of course, it’s funny, too.

I never got the impression that Hughes was living out his lost childhood through his films and I couldn’t begin to comprehend why he made the films he did.  All I know for sure is that he did make them and he made them well.

John Hughes was 59 when he passed.  If he had lived a bit longer, I’d like to believe that a biopic about his life might end this way:


JOHN HUGHES walks onto stage.  “Everytime You Go Away” by Blue Room plays over scene.  Hughes takes the lifetime achievement award from STEVE MARTIN.  He waves to the audience.

FREEZE-FRAME: Hughes smiling.


– Jonathan Michels