There are few bands as reliably wonderful, that provide as joyous a vibe (and I use that term in the actual sense of the word for the feeling is deep and emotional) as Hot Chip. Across the years, across the cities (Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal, Barcelona, Hasselt), across the festivals (Pukkelpop, Primavera and Osheaga), I have seen Hot Chip evolve into a truly remarkable live band.
You can bet on Owen dancing to the right of his keys, knees up high; of Alexis hiding behind his boards until he prowls the stage in his one-piece; of affable Joe in a bonkers sweatshirt; of Al being the lynchpin out front Felix being the lynchpin out back. You can expect Grosvenor to offer that little bit extra of everything – vocals, percussion, guitar, style – and Sarah to weld the whole thing together with a solid, propulsive percussion.
You will indeed dance your arse off and grin like a loon through “One Life Stand”, “Flutes” “Ready For the Floor” and you will see everyone shouting “LIKE A MONKEY WITH A MINIATURE CYMBAL!” over and over. “Let Me Be Him” will always inspire a crowd to bellow with Joe “oh oh – hey oh oh!” in a group lovefest.
But what’s most exciting about a Hot Chip tour, is a Hot Chip tour when part of the set is new, untested. Tonight is the first time tracks from Why Make Sense? are making an appearance in Toronto. But you can rely on Hot Chip to go big and clever – “Huarache Lights” is a warm, old-school builder and a beauty to begin with. So much of Why Make Sense? cycles through the best parts of dance music of the past 30 years. “Easy to Get” is a mellow, finger-snapping disco groove, “Started Right” is an analogue funk slide, “Need You Now” has that awesome sample from R&B soulstresses Sinnamon. Suddenly we’re all doing the hustle or the bus stop next to our neighbours.
So when you look to your left, and to your right – and you will do this, at every Hot Chip gig – you’ll see that everyone is dancing and everyone is smiling (and not just because the final track is a truly dorky great cover of Bruce Springsteen’s “Dancing In the Dark”).
Nothing is wasted and life is worth living
Heaven is nowhere, just look to the stars
There is a day that is yours for embracing
Everything’s nothing, and nothing is ours
…Alexis sings in “I Feel Better” and it’s always, predictably, a perfectly massive sounding anthem and so, so true. Hot Chip will always make you feel better and I’m glad to live in a world that has them in it. \m/