all photos: Farrah Skeiky, all words: Travis M. Andrews
“Happiness is what we all want.” It’s a simple statement, one that Alexis Taylor delivers on Hot Chip’s second-to-newest album. In its simplicity is its truth.
The band’s been tracing happiness throughout its albums, finding it playing X-box with one’s brothers, enjoying the depth of monogamous relationships and finding the peace in worship of anything from a deity to a piece of music.
On Wednesday night, that happiness was found in as many different ways as humanly possible. Opener The Crystal Ark found it in their own brand of electronic music featuring three beautiful women dressed and dancing like MacBeth’s witches. Double double toil and trouble indeed. The crowd started finding its happiness in old man rhythm during this set, but mostly they were finding happiness at the spirits haunting the space behind the bar.
Hot Chip seems to find its happiness through putting on an utterly euphoric show complete with more laser lights, disco balls and flashing gizmos that even your best stoner friend from high school kept in his bedroom. The lighting team’s happiness was in creating what might be the most luminous light show I’ve ever seen. I swear staring at the sun would have probably been better for my retinas, though it would have been far less enjoyable.
My happiness was found in showing up to the 9:30 club in a t-shirt, gym shorts and Sambas, ready to dance the night away. Because, you know, that’s what you do at a Hot Chip show. And then what you do, what you feel, what you experience, becomes something that cannot be described in mere words, unless that word is euphoria.
The 9:30 Club has never been so alive, a writhing mass of sweaty bodies, flashing lights keeping everyone’s feet moving as so many—together and alone but not alone for long—follow their hearts and touch, longingly or lovingly. Everyone becoming part of the same pulsating mass, a heartbeat moving at various beats per minute, depending on the track, and the lights flash and everyone jumps and flash and kissing and holding and double-trucking and crab-sliding and disco balls discoballin’ – what song is even playing … no one knows anymore, and no one really cares, until one comes on like “One Lift Stand” or “Over and Over.” Then, suddenly, voices are joining together in worship, like a choir, because tonight, the 9:30 Club has become a place of worship. It has become a place of happiness and joy, the kind of joy that has long since been forgotten in the annuals of modern life.
Tonight we can let go everything, if only for an hour and twenty minutes, and give our offerings up not to the men on stage who have granted us this gift but to the sounds that fill this room. The sounds that fill this room every night. The sounds that have led to the creation of this blog and countless more. The sound that has driven so many of our actions, our emotions.
A Hot Chip show isn’t just a good show. It’s a reminder of why we like music in the first place.
For that, we thank them.