Following an effortless support performance from a soulful Rosie Lowe, things kicked off at the Bath Full Of Ecstasy Tour right away as the group came hurdling onto the stage to the pulsating Hurache Lights, with Alexis Taylor’s distinctive coos powering through. Known for their colourful visual appeal the band didn’t disappoint that evening, sporting a uniform of neon-splattered gear to match the album artwork, with silhouettes ranging from a simple denim two piece to space-aged smocks, topped of by an enormously brimmed hat from Al Doyle.
The energy was undeniable from the beginning, amped up by a synth bass solo from Joe Goddard that introduced the third track, Night & Day, and matched by Owen Clarke’s relentless jumping and jiving throughout the entire set. True to Owen’s words with us ahead of the show lots of dancing did occur, but rather than it being a battle, he, Rob and Al broke into some synchronised moves that could have been choreographed by a malfunctioning member of Kraftwerk.
Throughout their setlist of new album tracks, alongside vintage tunes that spanned singalongs as well as the more instrumental Flutes, there were certainly no dull moments, which made refreshment breaks very difficult to time. We were stopped in our tracks and drawn straight back to the stage when the unmistakeable guitar licks of Over and Over began, creeping in through a musical interlude rather then being announced with the chimey introductions of the studio recording. This time, it was a much more haunting, darker and looming rendition of the classic – whether that’s the result of it being played live, or due to new interpretations to keep it fresh.
This gig certainly wasn’t Hot Chip’s first rodeo, but rather than feeling weathered or forced due to years of playing shows, it felts fresh and the band was noticeably enjoying themselves; smiles between the group were spotted as they jammed together, mirrored by the enthusiastic crowd. Even a young Hot Chip heir clad in ear protectors was invited on stage to join in the encore, which comprised of an unexpected but highly danceable cover of Sabotage, originally by birds of a feather band Beastie Boys. To be honest, everyone was having a laugh, and it worked.
“Oh you’re seeing Hot Chip? They have that one tune…, what a banger,” was the common response heard when sharing my excitement for the upcoming Rock City show. However, dissect the band and you’ll understand why these guys are much more than a ‘hit and run’ fad machine, successfully smashing the nu rave box their first breakthrough release placed them in.
Alexis Taylor has released a tonne of solo work with lyrics and concepts so beautiful they’ll make you weep, while Joe Goddard’s dancefloor orientated solo stuff and group project Two Bears’ impact is undeniable. Do we even need to mention the fact that Al Doyle is in LCD Soundsystem too? They’ve got plenty of kudos behind them yet always resist the urge to become too chin-strokey about it all.
Hot Chip have a vast musical output and while just a few have made it to the top-of-the-chart food chain, the reality is that their seven album strong discography is packed with plenty of creative, quality tracks bubbling on the underground that you’ve definitely hummed along to, but had no idea these guys were behind. This gig was a solid reminder of both of these points, and also a brilliant way to give context and appreciation to their latest release. Lead track Hungry Child’s chorus has been repeating around our head for days after the show, and it shows no signs of leaving…
Hot Chip played at Rock City on Tuesday 22nd October.