What’s left to say about Hot Chip in 2013? The London electronic pop ensemble has been a staple of consistency for over a decade, maintaining the same five-man core during that span and a steady diet of solid albums drenched in unpretentious irony and funky rhythms. Still touring in support of 2012’s In Our Heads the quintet returned to New York on Tuesday to a packed Roseland Ballroom after a recent romp through South America and ahead of upcoming Coachella performances. The songs on the setlist weren’t particularly new but, as always, Hot Chip offered exciting renditions of tracks from throughout their catalogue, getting by on the tenured chemistry between its members.
Rocking an all white getup and ridiculous bright blue linen suit, Alexis Taylor and Joe Goddard playfully honored the style of the R&B forefathers who have significantly guided their music. Taylor, specifically, defied his meek demeanor on stage, coming alive as he dynamically slid around with total confidence. Whether manning the keys, guitar or mic in hand, he was entirely engaged in the moment from beginning to end. Meanwhile, Goddard remained stationary on the right side, hunched over his collection of gadgets, his head bobbing along the whole way and playing foil to Al Doyle’s Will Butler-leaning antics.
Despite a slow start, hindered by a meandering version of “How Do You Do” that failed to capture the still settling audience’s attention and an unbalanced sounding “Night And Day”, the band hit its stride on “Flutes.” The In Our Heads epic was met with an even bigger approach that slowly built up the pummeling beat until it exploded with an wild array of colorful lights and frenetic rhythms. They now most certainly had the audience’s undivided attention and transitioned into a platter of welcomed old favorites that included “Over And Over” (I still can’t keep track of what they’re spelling), “And I Was A Boy From School” and “Ready For The Floor.” Each one had various rhythm heavy additions that changed the original songs and had me wondering if all these digressions are rehearsed or just the result of a tight-knit crew naturally expanding on songs that must be as familiar as the back of their hands. “Shake A Fist” swapped the electro break of the recording for an intense, pulsating Middle Eastern sounding jam that just about blew the roof off the hall.
After an equally rousing performance of One Life Stand’s “I Feel Better,” the decision to close with “Let Me Be Him” introduced an overly sentimental mood, but the crowd seemed undeterred as they stayed long after the band exited the stage, hollering for a second encore. It’s hard for a band that’s been around as long as Hot Chip to not come off as a little bored with doing the same thing over and over again (wink), but it seems that a genuine commitment to each other is what keeps them going.