Friday, October 24, 2008

Live Review: Hot Chip @ 9:30 Club, October 8

I'm pretty sure I could see Hot Chip live every night for an entire month without getting bored. That might not seem like much of a declaration, but coming from a rather fickle Gemini notorious for bouts of boredom it's quite a statement. After all, it's not often that I'm willing to make the rush hour drive to DC during the middle of the week, but for Hot Chip the drive is but a small price to pay. My third Hot Chip show (and second at the 9:30 Club) thus far was as breathtaking as the first, as exciting as the second, and quite possibly the best of the three.

Every Hot Chip show I've had the pleasure of attending, be it in the friendly confines of the 9:30 or the blazing heat of the California desert, has had the same feel; the pre-show air has been crackling with excitement, alive with anticipation. Not only that, but people seem genuinely happy at Hot Chip events. I know I'm happy to see them, and it's nice to feel like others share that joy.

The stage configuration proved to be a complete opposite to my first Hot Chip show at the club. Instead of that initial show's lineup of Hot Chip-ians in a row, with their respective Casios and other electronic aides in front of them, tonight as at Coachella the band was set up in a more standard format, that is to say with plenty of instruments and plenty of room to bound and dance all over the stage.

In terms of the show itself, well, I might be blinded by my love of Hot Chip here but I don't think it possible for them to have been much better than they were. From the ferocity of the opening "One Pure Thought" to the cheekily introduced ("this is one some people might know") crowd favorite "Over & Over" to the fantastic end mashup of the Sinead O'Connor smash "Nothing Compares 2 U" with the band's own slow jam "In the Privacy of Our Love" the band romped their way through it all with aplomb and sizzle. Throw in a wicked new track (possibly called "Artifacts") and the inclusion of one of my all-time favorites "Down With Prince" and you've got all the ingredients you might need for a perfect night on the dancefloor. And I'm sure I've said it before, but really, any band that uses the lyric "I'm only going to Heaven if it feels like Hell/I'm only going to Heaven if it tastes like caramel" is a winner. I left the 9:30 safe in the knowledge that Hot Chip had just put on one of my favorite sets of the year.

I'd be willing to go out on a limb and call Hot Chip one of the best damn live bands on the planet right about now. Sure, they do a little more knob-twiddling than the other bands that get my blood pumping, but I'm hard-pressed to think of a band that has the sheer delight factor that Hot Chip does. If it's a smile your face is in need of, Hot Chip might just be the perfect prescription.

[photo by Megan Petty]

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