Sometimes I feel like write too much about Hot Chip. (Maybe I just don’t write enough about other artists is the problem.) But then they play a show like this and I know, at least in the case of this band, it’s justified. Hot Chip absolutely killed it last night at Music Hall of Williamsburg. There’s a special place in my heart for the Bowery Ballroom show in March ’06 where Pat Mahoney played drums, subbing for an ill Felix, but this was easily the best full-lineup show I’ve ever seen them play.
It’s been interesting watching the band evolve over the last three years, both on record and live. I don’t think they’ve ever played the same song the same way twice. "Boy From School" seems to get the most radical reworkings, which last night segued seamlessly out of show-opener "Shake a Fist." They use different synth sounds and percussion, while keeping the little guitar riff that is the song’s pulse as a constant. I think they just get bored and fiddle with the arrangements and it keeps things fresh for us too.
The main set was a nonstop dance party, with the bulk of Made in the Dark plus "Boy from School," and "Over and Over" from The Warning, plus a welcome but unexpected "Crap Kraft Dinner," my favorite from Coming on Strong. The sound was great (I don’t understand the MHOW haters) and the crowd super-psyched, as was the band. Al especially, who’d spent the afternoon in a pub watching Liverpool beat Arsenal. The encore we got the two slow-jams from the new album, plus "Don’t Dance" and a killer "No Fit State" which Alexis managed to work in a bit of "Temptation" (previously worked into "Boy from School" at Webster Hall last summer). As much as I don’t want to see them stop playing venues this size, they are ready for the Terminal 5s of the world.
Setlist: Shake a Fist | Boy from School | Bendable Poseable | Touch Too Much | Over and Over | Out at the Pictures | Wrestlers | Crap Kraft Dinner | One Pure Thought | Ready for the Floor | ENCORE: Made in the Dark | Don’t Dance | No Fit State | In the Privacy of Our Love
Opener Matthew Dear was pretty great too, playing with his band Big Hands. Much more minimal than on his great album from last year, Asa Breed, his live presence was kind of like the souls of David Bowie and David Byrne were trapped in the body of Timothy Hutton. wearing the skinniest jeans ever and a Euro-fitted jacket and shirt, Dear spazzed out with one of the most impressive arrays of hand-held percussions instruments, including at least four different shakers and this clickety-clack thing that I’d never seen before.
Midway through his single "Don and Sherri" he welcomed Hot Chip to the stage and the song morphed into their version of the song which has been appended to a new version of Asa Breed. It was awesome.
Bao Nguyen took some awesome shots for Brooklyn Vegan, so be sure to check those out.