Hot Chip: the real McCoy
Hot Chip @ The Brighton Dome, 5th November
When I order peanuts at a bar my expectations aren’t high: I don’t expect them to be cheap; I don’t expect to get a big bagful; I don’t expect them to go with my beer nearly as well as the salt & vinegar crisps that have sadly run out. But I do expect them, at the very least, to be roasted – not deep fried or flame-grilled or anything else. Imagine, then my disgust as I tucked into my miniscule bag of nuts at The Brighton Dome last Wednesday only to discover that what lurked inside tasted like it had been wiped all over by a greasy Burger King Whopper. It was not a good start to a gig.Things did not exactly improve dramatically once support act, Max Tundra, took to the stage. In fact, surely no musician has ever managed to embody all the characteristics of a queer-tasting peanut quite like Max Tundra did tonight. Playing a bizarrely erratic electronica that flitted between musical ideas at a frantic rate, the podgy, balding thirtysomething (think Har Mar Superstar without the panache) was intriguing at first, but became sickening as soon as the novelty wore off.
Mercifully, his set was short and it wasn’t long before Hot Chip took to the stage to the rapturous applause of a relieved crowd. Playing a good mix of songs from their latest effort, Made in the Dark, and their two earlier albums, Coming on Strong and The Warning, the band soon got the crowd dancing and singing along with their infectious beats and catchy choruses. Some of the more delicate tracks from their earlier albums, such as ‘Boys from School’ and ‘No Fit State’ didn’t quite work live as well as they do on record, but the more up-beat numbers more than made up for this, with ‘Over and Over’ being an exhilarating stand-out of the first half of their set.
But it was tracks from Made in the Dark which really stole the show. Songs that I’ve always had reservations about on record, such as ‘Out at the Pictures’ and ‘Hold On’, acquired a thrilling new dimension played live and transformed the crowd into a feet-shuffling, head-bopping frenzy. At times the band’s performance was disappointingly understated, but they really got into their new songs and their increased energy only intensified the crowd’s fervour.
Hot Chip closed with the inimitably catchy ‘Ready for the Floor’, and as the crowd bounced around and played with the huge white balloons that floated down from the ceiling, there could be no doubt that the bad taste left behind by Max Tundra and my peanuts had been well and truly eradicated.