Live Review: Hot Chip (Ready for the Floor-Fillers)

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In colour: Hot Chip wrap their first night at the O2 Academy Brixton (photo: MP)

Hot Chip

O2 Academy Brixton, London (22/10/15)

Promising a bounteous trove of some of the past decade’s best-loved dance-pop and a seemingly neverending supply of confetti in all the colours of the rainbow, Hot Chip’s double-whammy of London shows concluded their UK tour in characteristically sprightly style. In the wake of the group’s magnificent and rapturously-received headline set at this summer’s Green Man Festival, I was particularly keen for an extra dose of Hot Chip magic, going as far as to bring my dad along for the ride for the first of two consecutive sets at Brixton’s O2 Academy. The cross-generational appeal is symptomatic of Hot Chip’s blossoming universality down the years; no longer do they singularly capture the minds of twentysomething throwback nostalgists; now they’re as close to a household name as any of their contemporaries, able to pack popular venues with fans of all ages.

Support from Lonelady was revelatory to the uninitiated, setting the bar high for the musical feast to follow, and throwing light on Julie Ann Campbell as an artist well worth discovering after the house lights went up. Campbell and her airtight, smartly-dressed live band spent forty minutes working six songs into dynamic, finely-tiered vehicles of funk-flecked alt-pop. Seamlessly flowing from a slinky rendition of ‘To the Cave’ through the nimble-wristed guitarwork of ‘Hinterland’ and ‘Silvering’, the impressive performance concluded with the tastefully ecstatic ‘Groove it Out’, drawn out to an effortless ten minutes. Campbell proved her chops and then some, highlighting herself as an artist clearly snubbed of a crack at this year’s Mercury Prize. (Not that the award is considered all that prestigious these days.)

From cool-as-funk to hot-as-shit, Hot Chip’s own set was something of a victory lap for fifteen years of solid tune-crafting. With a balanced set that drew well from each of the band’s major releases (though much more time could have been given over to In Our Heads‘ material, in this fan’s humble opinion), Alexis Taylor and co. reminded the Academy’s patrons of just how impressively ubiquitous the group have become in the British music scene, as well as how delightfully euphoric and unselfconscious their live sets are renowned to be. With the group’s fashion sense largely reined in (with the exception of Al Doyle and his pristine white ensemble), focus was on movement and spectacle, with the team’s comfort onstage clearly demonstrated through shapes and grins pulled all round. The dense throb of opener ‘Huarache Lights’ exemplified everything Hot Chip do so well in a live capacity, right down to the cracking sight of Doyle and Owen Clarke bopping along in sync.

At the core of the show was Sarah Jones, who barely broke a sweat while anchoring the entire set with a broad display of rhythms and skittering beats, her drumming the bedrock of a show which quickly grew hyperkinetic. ‘Over and Over’ ignited a feverish reaction in the crowds, as dozens shouldered their way forward to wave gangly limbs to Taylor’s “laidback” hook. It marked the most raucous display in a set bookended with banging fan favourites, and although the gig’s midsection largely kept the tempo to a slower average, hearing the band dust down gems such as ‘Shake a Fist’ and the lovely ‘Alley Cats’ helped lighten the sweatiness with sweetness.

A slow-building encore highlighting past greats crescendoed with Hot Chip’s triumphant cover of Bruce Springsteen’s ‘Dancing in the Dark’, now a requisite end-of-show treat, replete with Rob Smoughton’s guitar heroics and a holy blizzard of confetti. After seguing into the first verse of LCD Soundsystem’s ‘All My Friends’, the septet bowed out on a note of bittersweet warmth, teeing up their homecoming with one of modern music’s greatest works of songcraft. Hot Chip have made such a mixture of smarts and sincerity their trademark, and as they continue to broadcast joy with their goofy live antics and warm-blooded records, surely few can deny their hearts.

Setlist

Huarache Lights // One Life Stand // Night and Day // Love is the Future // Flutes // Over and Over // Alley Cats // Cry for You // Shake a Fist // Need You Now // Ready for the Floor // I Feel Better // Why Make Sense? // We’re Looking for a Lot of Love // And I Was a Boy From School // Hold On // Dancing in the Dark / All My Friends

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Posted on October 28, 2015, in The Music World and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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