In my preview of this show, I described Hot Chip’s latest album, A Bath Full of Ecstasy, as “a night out for adults trying to capture that fleeting sensation of release – and actually succeeding.” I didn’t expect that I would be so right: Saturday night at the 9:30 Club was proof that people in this city will in fact dance like nobody’s watching. Hot Chip can be polarizing, but as demonstrated by the energy and excitement in the room during their set, it’s apparent that people who love them love them.
The band stepped onto the stage at 10:10 p.m. to raucous, rowdy applause and cheers. Dressed in a variety of solid color jumpsuits – Alexis Taylor in a salmon-hued outfit, Joe Goddard in royal blue, the rest of the band somewhere in between – they gave off the air of cult members preparing for a ceremony, in the best way possible. And it was clear that they meant business from the moment the first synth blasts of “Huarache Lights” cut through the air to start the show. Everyone at the show was bouncing, from the photographers in the photo pit to the people hanging over from the balconies on the second floor. For all of the polish and amenities of The Anthem, there’s still no better place in town to see a band than the 9:30. The sound, layout, and intimate confines of the room simply have no match. I know there’s financial reasons for booking shows at the larger venue, but we shouldn’t relegate this historic space to the second tier just because we’ve got a shiny new-ish toy.
Speaking of newer stuff: the majority of the set consisted of tracks from the latest album, though they made sure to play all of the hits for the fans. Songs like “Hungry Child” have that glassy, four-to-the-floor electronic music feel that helps whip any room into a frenzy. Pair it with plenty of booze and easy-to-sing along to numbers like “Ready for the Floor” and “One Life Stand” and the show threatened to turn into a Hot Chip sing-along; never a bad thing, to be fair. Despite the party ambiance, Hot Chip’s music has always had relatively more depth and introspection than their peers in the indie-electronica space – likely a product of the band-members’ ages – and that tension shone through in their two cover song choices. The first: Feist’s iconic breakup anthem “Let it Die”, mourning a love lost. The second? “Sabotage” by the Beastie Boys, a choice that reflects Hot Chip’s flippant attitude and irreverence.
When all was said and done, it was a solid ninety minutes of raucous, cathartic noise. The audience – in their early 30s on average – turned back the clock alongside the band, and for a night Hot Chip reminded us of our carefree and obscene twenties. And it was so much fucking fun.