Tuesday, January 27, 2009
By the time Britain’s most musical I.T. department gamble onstage to ply their wears (singer Alexis Taylor splendid in a fresh Gang Gang Dance t-shirt) the venue is choked with excited punter and expectations are clearly going to be met, such is the love for Hot Chip; possibly the least cool-looking band since Hot Chocolate and band most deserving of having their likenesses rendered in plasticine by Nick Park.
The show is, essentially, a perfectly sequenced 90-minute track (with occasional breaks to introduce members and reprogram synths). Every song is remixed and segued which reminds you how rare it is to see a band rework a song in a way that actually enhances it’s peaks and troughs and works with audience expectations. This sense of playfulness contrasts nicely with their appearance and, despite being the last gig on their (very long) Made In The Dark world tour, they’re clearly having a blast and seem a totally different band from the one that was a highlight of the 2006 Big Day Out. The opening guitar crunch of One Pure Thought marks not only the last time the guitar is audible for the set but the point at which the rollercoaster ride kicks in. Bendable Posable follows and debuts the essential Dalek-droll vocal contributions of keyboardist Joe Goddard, and, like most songs from Made In The Dark played tonight, sounds ten times better than on the home stereo. The strobe and percussion frenzy of Shake A Fist, the tender and propulsive Boy From School and breakneck Hold On all give cause for celebration that pushes the crowd even closer together.
Slipping in two new songs mid-set - the smouldering and slow-building organ-led groove of Alley Cats and moody EBTG-like Thieves In The Night both indicative of the slower, less dance-oriented feel of their forthcoming album – before the inevitable highpoint of a heavily reworked but no less thrilling Over And Over, Hot Chip are peerless in their mastery of rendering dance music soulful and entertaining to watch. Ready For The Floor closes the set in irresistible fashion that makes you beg for room to dance.
It’s doubtful many were expecting an encore of Nothing Compares 2 U but this allows Hot Chip to not only have the best reason to wave a lighter at a dance gig ever, but blast into a supercharged No Fit State and My Piano before leaving us with a medley of quieter songs - the stuttering beats of ballad Made In The Dark and seductive The Privacy Of Our Love which is all very “Why, but without your glasses…you’re beautiful” and earns our respect all over again. English geeks actually being boldly seductive? Only world domination could follow.