Hot Chip - Southampton Guildhall 16/10/12
Openers for tonight are an amazingly suitable choice - the recently Mercury nominated Django Django. Playing through the majority of their self-titled debut album, the Northern-based band put on a fantastic performance as they always that was only blighted by persistent sound issues such as screeching mics and crackling speakers. These problems aside, they still stormed through the likes of ‘Hail Bop’, ‘Default’, and ‘Cairo’ and I have no idea how the majority of the audience were able to control themselves enough to stand so still - I thought it was an impossible feat not to dance to Django Django. Especially for ‘Waveforms’ where various band members took upon the drums to extend the ending of the song, and by the time the band finished with ‘Wor’ it was easy to dismiss Django as merely a support, more like two great gigs rolled into one - even though the crowd were about as fun as a wet fish to the face.
Fresh-faced from taking on the long summer of festival season - headlining the likes of Bestival and Camp Bestival and armed with enough strobes to turn a whole primary school epileptic, Hot Chip entered the stage to begin the show with ‘Motion Sickness’, the opener to their latest and fifth album In Our Heads. With loud shirts and enough band members dancing onstage, the party really was unfolding in front of us as the band showed why they are such a force as a live act, and really come to life more than they do on record. Even if for all their work, that party atmosphere didn’t quite infiltrate the stagnant crowd crowd..
Naturally songs from the latest record took precedence this evening, but when the singles roll out it’s hit after hit. ‘Boy From School’, ‘Over and Over’, ‘One Life Stand’, ‘Ready for the Floor’, they just keep on coming and a quick reminder of the magic formulae that Hot Chip have in creating perfect electro hits. There are some pockets of movement in the crowd, but still not enough for my liking or indeed for singer Alexis Taylor who takes a jump off the stage for a quick nosy into the crowd. A very quick nosy, perhaps he didn’t like what he saw.
A night of hip-shaking to electro music is always a great way to kick off a weekend, but here on a Tuesday night the crowd were more than a little wet, and a little difficult. However this isn’t an unusual occurrence for gigs held here in Southampton’s Guildhall, which always attracts a far more varied customer than any other venue I have ever visited. Where I have have almost died in mosh-pit watching a band somewhere else, here always receive the calmest of audiences in this carpeted hall. Some folk may prefer this, but for myself who really gets most of the enjoyment of a great crowd atmosphere, I often find gigs here a bit of a struggle when it feels like a the majority of the audience are just there to observe, not get involved.
Despite this, the crowd’s quietness is not remotely reflected onto the band, who performed for over an hour and and a half, and the dancing never stops. The audience might be all too aware this is a school night, but Hot Chip party away like it’s the final night at a festival. I hope the next time I catch the band, I’m not feeling so much like the lonely dancer..
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