Hot Chip – Nottingham Rock City, Monday February 15.
Having just released their fourth album One Life Stand – their most mature and consistent sounding record to date – Hot Chip are back on the road again, consolidating their success on last summer’s festival circuit. For this tour, the five full-time members have been joined by their original drummer Rob Smoughton, who took centre stage for a reworked version of Alley Cats from the new album.
Guitarist Al Doyle also has a new musical role, having learnt to play steel pan especially for the tour. This slotted well into the band’s current sound, which draws percussive influences from Caribbean soca and the burgeoning “UK Funky” dance scene. These influences came to the fore on new numbers such as the excellent We Have Love, which climaxed with a powerfully insistent Italo-Disco workout.
The set reached a peak of intensity halfway through, with a fine run of crowd pleasers: Ready For The Floor, current single One Life Stand, and a storming version of Over And Over. These set the mood for a dance-oriented second half, as the crowd lost itself in the superbly crafted wash of sound. Hot Chip may not be the most demonstrative of performers, but they displayed a precise, instinctive grasp of dancefloor dynamics, sending ripples of pure pleasure across the room.
Thieves In The Night, the new album’s synth-laden opening track, started the show, while its closing number Take It In brought the main set to an exultant conclusion. At the end of the two-song encore, the players took a formal bow. For the audience, it had been an uncommonly good-natured and joyous experience, served up by a band operating at the peak of its powers, which left most of those who witnessed it wreathed in smiles.