Photos (c) Paul Lippiatt
Playing their own interpretation of Bruce Springsteen’s ‘Dancing in the Dark’, they merged it (to everyone’s surprise) with LCD Soundsystem’s ‘All My Friends’, in turn having me singing “can’t start a fire without a spark” to myself all the way home.
Pete Um is a support act that has to be mentioned. When you see Hot Chip you expect them to bring along some seasoned radio ready professional song writing type. Instead we were welcomed by a man with a mini disc player and the demeanour and dress of a mumbling geography teacher. A sort of Howard Moon, Casio keyboard splicing experiment who assured us that the device was “highly sought after”. As he chuntered his hap hazard diatribes he reminded me of the Chris Morris and Aphex Twins ‘jam’ effort. All that considered, it was highly entertaining listening to reams of 60-second would-be nonsense as we watched in bemusement, trying to work out if it was serious or not.
Preceded by a Blade Runner-toned combination of blue smoke and flickering red lights, Hot Chip casually strolled on in a very un-rock n’ roll fashion; a loose row of oddly flowing gloc notes and they launched into Huarache Lights. This stomping opener was like a disco war march which instantly made you forget where you were. Multiple layers of sound from a sea of synths interlocked and added yeast to the melodies. Hot Chip doubtlessly have a skill of composition that propels the top line and vocals whilst building an obelisk of supporting music which is equally visible. They went on to further prove this.
They drew songs from various albums while taking a third of the main set from their recent release ‘Why Make Sense’. Although they sit in the synthpop category, they represent a whole plethora of musical styles. ‘One Life Stand’ plays as a grand pop song of Hollywood-worthy finality and ‘Night and Day’ conjures up images of 1970s space operas as the retro electronic notes are tortured with a frosty-edged vibrato. Reminiscent of some of the earlier tracks, ‘Love is the Future’ carries itself with disjointed, off-step beats that get people’s hips wiggling, nodding to a more 90s cut and paste style creation.
As the evening continued we were presented with various differing flavours from the bands history, one of the high lights being ‘Over and Over’ which triggered dozens of yelps in recognition, as they peppered it with some additional unexpected pointy notes. Title track ‘Why Make Sense’ came towards the end, building up a feast of frequencies as it gained momentum with the stage full of overtly skilled musicians, indulging themselves with a touch of post-rock. It ended up sounding like the sort of thing Jean Michael Jarre would listen to in his ‘chill out’ room.
Finishing the night with an unusual choice of covers which formed a medley; playing their own interpretation of Bruce Springsteen’s ‘Dancing in the Dark’, they merged it (to everyone’s surprise) with LCD Soundsystem’s ‘All My Friends’, in turn having me singing “can’t start a fire without a spark” to myself all the way home. With over a decade of music behind them, this outfit still continue to produce a polished and enthusiastic performance. As the lights came up we all reluctantly returned to reality astonished at how effortlessly they had created such a vibrant and ‘other worldly’ atmosphere.
Watch their video for ‘Huarache Lights’ here: