Venue: 02 Academy, Birmingham, UK
Date: 11th October 2012
God forbid Hot Chip ever gave up the music game but if this horrible notion occurred at least they could become professional plate spinners. This may seem like a bizarre career alternative for the London based quintet but with the amount of instrument swapping and leaping from one electronic box of tricks to another at tonight’s Birmingham gig, they have a deft knack at multitasking. Tonight’s show sees Hot Chip on the campaign trail promoting their fifth LP, In Our Heads but it’s a track from their third LP, Made In The Dark that kicks things off, with piercing strobe lights that are pure retina destroyers, the five piece transform ‘Shake A Fist’ into a pounding, malevolent monster. Aided by Sarah Jones on drums (who is introduced as Sarah “Motherfucking” Jones later on into the performance) the stick handler’s tub-thumping provides an added texture that amplifies the opener.
Like ‘Shake A Fist’, most of the tracks tonight are elongated by vibrant percussion breakdowns or synth wizardry that induces jubilant crowd reactions. It’s fitting that old material and the new jams from In Our Heads are greeted with the same warm embrace. Newie ‘Night and Day’ bounces along with the same feverish impact as fan favourite ‘Ready For The Floor’. It’s inevitable that ‘Over and Over’ receives the biggest cheer of the night, it’s arguably the band’s biggest tune but luckily doesn’t overshadow the rest of the performance when it is dispensed with mid set. The aforementioned trademark slice of electro-pop is beefed up and drawn out to something that closely resembles a hyper version of the Knightrider theme tune.
Hot Chip are synonymous with creating quirky dancefloor fillers with substance, the thinking man’s club music maybe? However it’s a pleasing surprise when the mad scientists of electronica pair down their wares and reel off ‘Look At Where Are’ after the riotous ‘Over and Over’. Even though a cross section of the crowd use the slowie as an excuse to check their email or take a piss, for the most part this tender ditty showcases Alexis Taylor’s laidback croon, something that adds another layer to Hot Chip’s musicality. When the next calmer moment crops up it is when the set comes to a close with ‘Let Me Be Him’ which isn’t quite the ending you’d want from a Hot Chip gig, it’s a minor grumble on an overall great performance. As a penultimate track maybe but a track like ‘Flutes’ or the eurphoic ‘I Feel Better’ would have finished off the night on a massive high.
After tonight’s triumphant gig and a well received fifth album, the lads from London are still as scorching as their molten band name suggests.
Word and Thoughts of Adam Williams
Photos by Naomi Abbs