Hot Chip at Southampton Guildhall (16/10/2012)

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The sentence ‘Hot Chip are one of the best bands making music in 2012’ is a fact. Let me explain; they have a mercury-nomination under their belt, a truly unique sound, a funny little lead singer, a fantastic but overlooked latest album, and a self-depreciative, cynical edge which means that they are relatable in their ability not to take themselves too seriously. For these reasons, I knew before I even entered the Guildhall, that they were not going to disappoint.

Scottish quartet Django Django (I don’t know what the other two members’ names are) set the ball rolling effectively with their restless blending of the psychedelic and indie genres. The band received a warm and involved reaction from the audience that I found unusual for a support band. The highlight of their lamentably short set was undeniably ‘Default’, the band’s ability to transfer the song’s absurdity to the stage impressed me greatly; a thumbs-up from Dan!

The Hot Chips were greeted to visible excitement from the audience, who were clearly constructed of die-hard fans, rather than casual listeners. This dedication helped carry the buzz throughout the gig and at no point did it feel like the songs were being played to an uninterested group of people, with the whole audience dancing and singing along to every song. I think the die hard nature of the fan-base that was on show is a testament to the bands quality; not every artist can fill a venue as big as the Guildhall with people that know their whole catalogue.

The group’s energy was electric throughout, with the seven members constantly dancing their way around the stage, seemingly being able to perform each other’s roles interchangeably. In particular, front man Alexis Taylor was particularly charismatic, with his impeccable vocals and all white track-suit proving effective. The band always looked like they were enjoying themselves meaning they, unlike the millions of ‘serious’ bands who suck the energy from the audience with their dryness, made the show greatly enjoyable and, most importantly, fun.

Highlights of the night are hard to pin down, as it never seemed as if the band played a dud track; as my friend put it, they were ‘fucking tight’. To mention a but a few, ‘Over and Over’ was brilliant, performed with enthusiasm and expertise, ‘Flutes’ was fantastic and ‘I Feel Better’ made me feel… better? While the band played a fair amount of older material, they focused a great deal of the set on their acclaimed new album In Our Heads. During the show’s encore, the band sent the night off in style, extending their smash-hit ‘Ready For The Floor’ into a 10-minute symphony of noise and destruction.

Although the gig was of a consistently high quality, the band’s rendition of key member Joe Goddard’s classic tune ‘Gabriel’, featuring vocals from Valentina herself, stood out as the shows highlight. Despite the band admitting beforehand that they had never played it live, it was every bit the wonderfully strange dance-ballad that it should be. And Valentina was fit.

Overall, it was an excellent night and, as cliché as it sounds, my only criticism is that the band didn’t play for longer. Hot Chip continue to prove that they are an unstoppable force who exhibit a standard of creativity and professionalism that most groups can only strive to reach. If you missed them, you missed out.

We also got a shit picture with Alexis Taylor

9/10

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