One of the greatest omissions, for me at least, from this year's Mercury Prize shortlist was Hot Chip's Why Make Sense?. Though I'm sure many of you reading this will disagree, the band's latest LP has felt like their strongest to me and has drawn be back, willingly, under their intoxicating spell - if I had been listening to it on vinyl there's a pretty strong chance that it would no longer be working.
So, having spent countless hours watching Hot Chip live sets from Glastonbury all the way to Sydney it was about time I actually went out and took in the sounds for myself. Few artists have the good fortune of referring to a sold out gig at Brixton Academy as their 'home show' but there was a definite feeling that the crowd were welcoming back some of their own as they cheered, danced and screamed along endlessly as Hot Chip reeled out a selection of hits that reminded you of just how long they've been at their musical peak.
As the evening progressed, kicking off with 'Huarache Lights' which opened their latest release in a similarly effective manner, it became clear to see that - while the seven performers came together as one aural beast - each of them had their own distinctive performance style which meant that you'd never get bored of staring at the stage. From Owen Clarke and Al Doyle's boundless energy taking them all around the stage to the steely nature of Felix Martin, the reliably steady Alexis Taylor and the trance-like state that Joe Goddard appears to indulge in during songs, there was never a feeling that this was a band just going through the motions. This was a performance from five men who clearly are still very much in love with what they do.
They weren't the only ones getting caught up in the atmosphere - nor were the packed in crowd who never seemed to stop moving. Touring band members Sarah Jones (drums) and Rob Smoughton (every instrument under the sun) were also deeply entrenched in the music, the latter even joining Messrs Taylor, Doyle and Clarke for a simple yet effective dance routine during 'Flutes' which highlighted just how tight the live set-up is.
Whether it be the sounds of synths, guitar and bass or steel drums that's capturing your attention, there's always just so much on offer to entertain your ears. Hot Chip provide a very much needed service as a mid-point between the world of indie at electronic music that gives those of us who have a foot firmly in each camp something very enjoyable indeed. Though they may have gone off ahead of a pre-determined encore, one of my absolute pet hates although in this instance it was very much warranted, the sounds thet greeted us upon their return were sheer luxury on the ears and their cover of Bruce Springsteen's 'Dancing In The Dark' made for the perfect end to an evening which so perfectly lived up to my expectations.
Photos: Ryan Dinham.
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