Hot Chip at Brixton Academy
Hot Chip played the second show of a four-night run at Brixton Academy last night. That’s 20,000 tickets sold at the venue, which is a lot of people for whom the band’s fragile, questioning, cerebral dance music resonates. Their eighth album, Freakout/Release, came out in August, bringing slick production and some interesting, cathartic lyrics. This is music for those with funky feet and higher-than-average emotional intelligence.
The show started with the title track from Freakout/Release, which uses a Kraftwerk-like vocoder voice saying “wild beast, freakout/release” as its hook. An unrepentant banger off the latest album, Down incorporates a funky 1970s sample from Universal Togetherness Band to create a moreishly off-kilter chorus. The set was meticulously crafted to take the audience on a journey through the new record and Hot Chip’s frankly stunning back catalogue. Old and new material mixed seamlessly: dreamy hit And I Was a Boy from School lee into It’s Hard to Be Funky, a lament on how sexual confidence can be knocked by depression not feeling oneself (succinctly described by lead singer Alexis Taylor: “Ain’t it hard to be funky when you’re not feeling sexy / And it’s hard to feel sexy when you’re not very funky”. This song was followed by Broken, another meditation on the effects of depression. Then, as if to bring the mood from the contemplative back to cutting a rug, they played Ready for the Floor, an irresistible love song to the dance floor that never seems to age.
The show continued to steer the mood in unexpected ways. The joyful Straight to the Morning was followed by a nostalgic Miss the Bliss and the beautiful Melody of Love. Over and Over concluded the main set – always a favourite, a timeless depiction of drug-fuelled dancing – then the encore started with I Feel Better, followed by Out of My Depth, the mind-bending closer from their latest album, which swam lavishly before the performance ended with the hypnotic Huarache Lights. Quietly, Hot Chip are a well-loved band, and they proved why last night with music not only to dance to, but also of honesty and reflection. It’s an unusual mix but one that goes to the heart.
Photos: Nick Bennett
For further information and future events visit Hot Chip’s website here.
Watch the video for the single Down here: