Fans who came to see The Cut Losses perform their debut EP Lightning Dolphin may have had a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Lead singer Patrick McWilliams is having dental surgery next month, and the band will go on indefinite hiatus.
Before the show, The Cut Losses are excited to perform. Though it may be one of their last gigs, Patrick tells me it’s also their first. “The heat is on,” he says with a laugh. During opening sets by local acts Ponytail and Wishkicker, Cut Losses members walk around the room in blazers fresh from the ‘80s. Except bass player Andrew Fyvie. “He almost got the memo,” grins Patrick. If they’re nervous, you can’t tell. Drummer Duncan Lee has his jacket collar popped by midway through the second set.
The small crowd grows to around a hundred by the time The Cut Losses take the stage, greeted by warm applause. They launch into an energetic set of dreamy garage rock, tightly performed. The band is all smiles, even when the vocal harmonies are slightly out of tune. While the rhythms reveal punk influence, Patrick’s pure voice and soft synth tones give the sound a clean finish. The audience is clustered around the stage. Few dance until the band invites them to, but heads are bobbing and feet tapping.
Some of the highlights come between songs, when the band and audience interact like teenagers on a first date. It’s awkward, but sincere. Telling a story about food poisoning, Patrick apologizes for swearing, and then goes on to swear at least twice more. The crowd doesn’t always respond right where they’re supposed to. Calls for an encore are scattered, but the applause when the band comes back on anyway shows the fans really did want more. They get the mellow, yet upbeat single “Spending Time On My Own” as a farewell.
The Cut Losses will play at least one more show in November, but have no set return date after Patrick’s surgery. Still, it’s hard to believe they’re finished. The fans at this show would come back, and with a good recording out, The Cut Losses could expand their audience. It may be telling that Patrick’s final words to the audience were “see you next time.”