Friday, October 3
Photos by Jesse Reed
Audiences won’t mess with their cell phones during a show if you give them something else to do with their hands. The audience at Hot Chip had two other options: hold them in the air, or use them to push away balloons (by holding them in the air). See, Terminal 5 was built up rather than out: one rather small stage-level floor with second and third floor balconies. And even those levels have sub levels. It’s not perfect for dancing—the upper floors are too narrow, the bottom floor too packed (both Hot Chip shows this weekend were sold out), the VIP area too full of Red Bull representatives and British men. “Thanks for bouncing about” they told the crowd. It was hard to do much more.
Hot Chip then, had to play to the rafters, to the back and top of Terminal 5’s many rooms. You don’t expect such shows to be subtle—just fun. “Over And Over” was stretched out, the small hum of its opening bars transformed and lengthened into honks and thumps. A group of girls released giant white balloons during “Ready For The Floor.” But you can’t play unplug-the-laptop with these guys like you probably will a month from now, when Girl Talk plays three nights in a row. Now five members strong, Hot Chip have an unnatural tightness to them, sort of like singer/synther Joe Goddard’s knees-together, ass shaking dance: always on the brink of over-excitement, always in control. Only Goddard and singer Alexis Taylor wore jumpsuits (is this back?), but all of Hot Chip play like workmen.
The band not only played to the venue’s far reaches, but the quintet’s songs seemed to push up against them, edges flattening against the walls. People, of course, weren’t there for delicacy, and Hot Chip obliged by speeding up their slower singles just a little. “Alley Cats,” a new one they’ve already recorded for their next LP, showed off singer Alexis Taylor’s light, delicate lilt; on other songs he sounded like a blues singer, or even a old-timey singer warbling from a 78. Maybe this wasn’t important to the audience, but it was important to them. They ended the night with “Made In The Dark,” and finished an encore with their cover of “Nothing Compares 2 U.” People still kept their hands up, pushing imaginary balloon away as if they hadn’t just popped them all two songs ago.—Jessica Suarez