Hot Chip never disappoint. Even when they’re at a venue I actively dislike, like Webster Hall. Even when said venue’s sound mix makes the bass so low and so loud I felt it might make me sterile. But nothing could stop the good vibes that Hot Chip always seem to exude.
I hadn’t felt bass like that since seeing Super Furry Animals on the Rings Around the World when they played in 5.1 surround. It vibrated parts of my body I didn’t know I had. Hot Chip kind of do that for me anyway without the low frequencies. They have become, to these ears, one of the most significant bands of the day and could be for 2005 – 2015 what SFA were to the previous ten years: the best band. It was last night’s show that put this opinion in my head. Like the Furries, Hot Chip are constantly evolving, experimenting, defying expectations. Except the expectation of making great music.
It was the first of their two-night stint at Webster Hall, part of a mini tour on their way to Coachella. With no new album to promote (well, apart from the excellent DJ Kicks comp) Hot Chip is using this as an opportunity to road test nearly an album’s worth of new material. Some of the songs ("Hold On," "Shake a Fist") have been on setlists since last year, but they probably trotted out five brand new ones last night. And they were all good. Guitarist Al Doyle said that they hoped to release the new album in September "if the folks up there will let us," pointing to the upstairs VIP section where label folks were watching.
It also marked the happy return of mustachioed drum machine man Felix Martin, who sat out 2006 live dates (in the US at least) due to health problems. But that also meant that fill-in drummer Pat Mahoney (of LCD Soundsystem and the Juan McLean), who really felt like a member of the band after all the shows, was not with them. He was missed… but Felix, glad to have you back.
As for songs from The Warning and Coming On Strong, favorites like "Boy from School," "Beach Party," and "No Fit State" took on new forms. The latter, in particular, was one of the show’s highlights. Alexis Taylor has admitted that "No Fit State" was his attempt to write a New Order song, and perhaps as a tip of the hat, it morphed into a "Temptation" cover before blasting back into the chorus.
But nothing could top — or stop — "Over and Over" which has become The Song That Never Gets Old. Webster Hall exploded to the point that I thought the floor might collapse. Hands were in the air, everyone was bouncing, and I was drenched in sweat. I wish I could go again tonight. Long live the Chip.
Out at the Pictures
Boy from School
Shake a Fist
No Fit State
Just Like We Breakdown
One Pure Thought
Over and Over
Ready for the Floor
Privacy of Our Love
Openers were Bay Area foursome Tussle who should have excited me more given that they feature a couple things I live: two drummers, and putting those drummers at the front of the stage. They can make a good groove but, apart from the first number, the songs didn’t really go anywhere. Still, a band to keep on your radar.