Hot Chip’s latest album title, 'A Bath Full Of Ecstasy', conjured up some powerful expectations of how I might feel after seeing their Brisbane show (4 March).
I imagined the crowd slowly becoming suspended over a sea of light-filled, rainbow bubbles and pink, bubblegum-scented smoke as the band took us higher with each synth-filled banger. I wasn’t too far off.
The seven-piece act that is Hot Chip, in a live setting, has a lot of elements going on. Yet, each member looked so calm and collected in their veritable playground of instruments.
They opened with ‘Huarache Lights’ from 'Why Make Sense', which whet the crowd’s appetite for some deep-synth grooves. It also allowed time to appreciate frontman Alexis Taylor’s custom jacket and bedazzled hat ensemble. Having not seen Hot Chip for almost ten years, I had forgotten how vulnerable, yet powerful, Taylor’s vocals can be.Click here to read our recent interview with Hot Chip.
Al Doyle and Rob Smoughton (aka Grovesnor) spent the night swapping guitar and bass, seemingly as it pleased them. Smoughton, a former band member who still plays live, is a jack-of-all-trades up there. I don’t think he stayed in one place for more than half a song, providing back-up vocals, synth lines, bongos, and anything in between.
The legend himself, Joe Goddard, commanded his own domain right-of-stage in a hooded, blue jumpsuit. His back-up vocals, at times treading the comical line, have always been one of my favourite parts about Hot Chip. They don’t take themselves too seriously, and they are still having fun up there 20 years on.
The live drummer was an explosive and ever-present reminder of how live drums really elevate an electronic act. Some low-key, synchronised dance moves were thrown in, and the incessant shoulder-dance style of synth player Owen Clarke never wavered throughout the whole set.
Hits from all over their back catalogue had the crowd pre-emptively bursting into song, including ‘Ready For The Floor’, ‘Over And Over’ and ‘Night And Day’. The standout tracks from their latest album included ‘Spell’, ‘Hungry Child’ and ‘Echo’.
I was a little bit on the fence over this album, and it hadn’t quite clicked-in for me yet. However, seeing the tracks live made them all-the-more infectious and high-rotation worthy.
The band burst back onto the stage for the encore with a completely unexpected cover of Beastie Boy’s ‘Sabotage’. Taylor clutched a microphone on each side of his mouth and gave it his all.
This was a playful departure to the era they were no doubt inspired by, and reminded me why it is always worth seeing Hot Chip live.