I feel that it’s easy to identify the key element to a good electronic show. Not to discount the amount of insanely talented and terrific DJ’s there are out there, but there’s a certain magic to seeing electronic music being fully fleshed out by a live band. In the case of Hot Chip’s live show, a group of seven re-create their disco-ridden, rave-ready tunes with enough deviation from the record and enough volume to feel like you’re at the world’s best warehouse party.
Even though it was monsooning over New York City just an hour before, Prospect Park survived the storm and luckily the show was only moved back by an hour rather than cancelled. Even though they pushed curfew, Hot Chip still delivered a full hour and a half set that showcased new tunes and madeover old ones. “And I Was A Boy From School” opened the show and almost perfectly exemplified the entire performance. It began with one shimmery keyboard line, joined by fragments of drums, then more keys, then more drums, more keys, then guitar, then bass, and then countless other elements built on top of it until the crescendo led to a big payoff. The full drumbeat kicked in and Prospect Park became the antithesis to apathetic Brooklyn crowds. Girls were on shoulders, the crowd was jumping, and people’s pretty little blankets got destroyed.
Alexis Taylor’s voice was on, Al Doyle’s guitar playing was as funky as ever. (We were graced with him taking his shirt off too, just as everyone seeing him in the many screenings of Shut Up and Play The Hits were as well.) The band shuffled between instruments, from steel drums (“I Feel Better” ) to massive arrays of percussion for extended jams and outros on “Over And Over” and “Hold On.” Between instrument switches, the band didn’t simply grab them from guitar techs, they danced their way to other members on the stage slowly and deliberately before the switch. Perhaps a DJ can move a crossfader to a different record, but only Hot Chip can dance their way to a guitar in a corny blazer.
New songs like “Night And Day” and “Flutes” stole the show. I had been looking forward to the show almost solely to see “Flutes” live. The song builds up for minutes at a time, with beat drop over beat drop, thumping bass over even more bass, and Taylor’s voice tying it all together. The syncopated keyboard beats and driving rhythm to that song are just infectious, and made the crowd rabid.
Hot Chip played hit after hit, from “One Life Stand” to “How Do You Do?” and even threw in the “Look At Where We Are” slow jam beneath an onslaught of heat and an insane light show. Overall, even with camera and backpack in tow, I danced for an hour and a half straight. More importantly, thousands of people waited out the rain and didn’t give up on the show, and were treated very well for their dedication.