There seems to be a bit of interest in Hot Chip over the last few years, and it got me thinking when did that come about again? Well they are Grammy and Mercury award nominated, and truth be told was probably after that happened that I stood up and started getting more interested in them. Several of my friends have been listening to these guys for years, and so, on a beautifully cool evening in Amsterdam I found myself wishing one of them had been in town to enjoy the show. But alas they were not, so I ventured to The Melkweg, on my own, spare ticket in hand and it was then noticed the sign saying Sold Out, with minimal people around I gave it to the bouncer and told him to make someone’s night, and headed on in.
The fact that this band had been kicking around since 2000 did surprise me a bit, I had them pegged for the last 5 years maybe, but no more. That being said they have produced some albums that the likes of Rolling Stone and Pitchfork have loved, in fact a couple of years ago in my quest for musical enlightenment I purchased all of the top 25 Albums of the Year from Rolling Stone magazine which is how I got to know the Hot Chip album “Made in the Dark”.
Ok, so I have never been a massive fan of what I have listened to, but that’s why I needed to see these guys live to really get an understanding of if any of this hype is warranted or not.
Over a couple of beers I watched the room fill with fans of the band. Automatically I noticed that there were not as many hipsters as there had been at the Dirty Projectors show earlier in the week, that is for sure, and I expected this crowd to be 100 % more animated then that night. Please note I specifically don’t use the word engaged, as that might be disrespectful, but actively participating, now that is a different thing.
What did I expect to see at the Melkweg? Well obviously a version of British Electronic pop, I mean these guys have been doing this for quite a while and their style hasn’t exactly changed a lot. From what I notice very early on, was that most of the members of Hot Chip are all very multi instrumental and are more than happy to chop and change as the song dictates. That being said there are always the standard line up for the evening which consisted of, Alexis Taylor or Synthesizer and predominantly vocal amongst other things. Joe Goddard also did similar things but with a tad bit more percussion thrown in for good measure. Owen Clark known for mostly guitar, but of course a little bit of Synthesizer.
It was Al Doyle was probably the most animated of the group for the evening, not only did he jump up and interact with Sarah Jones who was on Drums (and FYI Sarah was sporting the best attire for the evening, - a plain white t-shirt saying LOVE) but he also knocked out a bit on the percussion instruments and his precision between instruments was perfect and couldn’t be faulted. And then there was Rob Smoughton who seemed to be involved in just about everything. What I hadn’t really expected or given a whole lot of thought to was that the evenings band would comprise of seven different artist, all of which appeared to be very talented and enjoying life to the full.
Ok well as I had expected there was a couple of synthesizers on stage… and alright it was probably close to 4 or 5, if you were counting at home, but this look actually seemed quite normal for this band……All of these guys had clearly been doing this for a while but also knew what it meant to enjoy what you do for a living and hence looked like playing 1 ½ hours for an adoring crowd in Amsterdam was not the worst thing to do in the world.
So they played a normal selection of old, popular and new songs and all of which interested me enough, I mean I won’t say that I was in 7th heaven the whole time, but it did get me grooving and loving the crowd interaction with the band. I Walked out of Seeing Hot Chip feeling the same as I did when I watched Yeasayer (well Yeasayer the second time). I totally felt like I had “got” the show that they had just given, and I was not alone. I think to be honest the crowed there all felt the same.
The next day I woke up and had the song “over and over” stuck in my head, this is usually a good indication that the gig hand been pretty dam good.