Hot Chip…Where’s the Salsa?

Hot Chip
Metro – Chicago, IL

Hot Chip

Around 8:30 Sunday night, the synth-heavy electro-pop Hot Chip kicked off a two-night stint at the Metro. The visual duo, Growing, opened for them. Visual really isn’t my thing, I suppose if I were on acid it would be ‘wow’ but 100% sober, I just can’t get into it. Call me lame but I had the same reaction when I saw Yeasayer open for Man Man (coming to Bottom Lounge 10/18) earlier this year. -Actually, listening to them now it’s more intriguing…maybe I’ll give them another shot.

Sorry to deviate, there’s more about the actual show after the jump…

Hot Chip Hot Chip

Lead Singer, Alexis Taylor snagged the crowd’s attention immediately with his white jumpsuit, a la Weezer, who is also on tour at the moment. “One Pure Thought” and “Bendable Poseable” were the first two out of the gate but the concert really jumped off when they busted out “Shake A Fist” for their third song. The dance floor was hoppin’ and I left the photo pit a song early to take part (I have a rant about this at the bottom.) It wasn’t as intense as Cut Copy but Hot Chip only traveled around 4,000 miles for the show while Cut Copy has to travel almost 10,000, that’s gotta be it.

According to the Metro, the show wasn’t officially sold out but I beg to differ. There were an awful lot of bodies crammed onto that dance floor.

A new song, shown as “Alleycats” on the set list popped up mid-set but I don’t remember it being too exciting. Check the video to see for yourself. They pulled songs from their previous two albums as well, my favorite being “Down With Prince” off Coming On Strong because I really am “sick of motherfuckers trying to tell me that they’re down with Prince.” For me, the old stuff is edgier and the new stuff has lost a lot of that, even though it’s what originally peaked my interest.

Hot Chip Hot Chip

Just before exiting the stage, the 6-piece dared everyone to bust a groove with “Ready For The Floor.” After a stretched intro of “do it…say it…”, giant white balloons were unleashed on the crowd, a nice flare indeed. Check out this video from LA to get an idea: Balloons! Unfortunately this was really the only exciting addition to their show. I don’t know about most people but after seeing the video of “Ready For the Floor,” I was expecting one hell of a light show. Instead we got the default lighting from Metro and a few additional lights, nothing spectacular. On the plus side, there were no lights to distract from the artists who were pretty entertaining themselves.

For an encore, they played an incredibly generous four songs, “Playboy”, “My Piano”, “No Fit State”, and “In the Privacy of Our Love.” “My Piano” appears to be a new song as well because it’s not on the 3 CDs that I own. The show was followed by a DJ set at Smart Bar for those who are legal to drink, not those of us who are legal to die for our country…that’s an entirely different story though.

Begin Rant.

What’s with people in the photo pit that don’t get into the show? Maybe I’m an annoying photographer but when I’m up there, I’m singing along to the lyrics and dancing around. 90% of the shooters I see at concerts are so static; I can’t imagine they’re having any fun. When you’re in front of a big crowd like that, you’ve got two objectives:

  1. get a few good pictures
  2. prove to those fans in the front you know the music deserve to be up there
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  1. Natasha Tsaconas says:

    get a real job

  2. Eduardo says:

    Man, they played Playboy! It’s been YEARS since they don’t play it. That would have been worth the ticket for me. Also, My Piano is not really new. It came out before Made in the Dark and it’s part of a DJ-Kicks they did for !K7 last year.

  3. Laura says:

    When you are a photographer shooting for a publication, you’re working those first three songs, so I see no issue with taking a job you have committed to seriously.

    The pit for hot chip on Sunday night was ridiculous. There were far too many photographers (and my editor arranged through Hot Chip, whose publicist only put our publication and another on the list, so I’m not sure how more than 8 people ended up in the pit). But, Sunday’s pit was overloaded with of photographers who were not frequent shooters, as they wouldn’t move out of the way, be conscious of the other photographers, or know the rules of the Metro (NO flash and NO shots after the first three songs- I would be careful on this one, b/c the Metro has been known to take away cameras, even if you have a photo pass). I see no problem with using the flash (but wouldn’t break the venue rules), but when using, you consciously check the other photographers to observe that you won’t be killing your shots, of which one lady in the pit was not doing.

    OK, rant over, but aside, the job of a photographer in the pit is to promote a band and show for people that weren’t there via publication, the band did fine in getting the crowd into the show. Frankly, leave the dancing and singing, and general enjoyment for after the first three songs when you join the normal crowd. That’s when I put my camera away and enjoyed the show.

    Plus, no mention of the Prince cover leading into Privacy? Did you stay the entire show??

  4. @Natasha Tsaconas: This is a real job. Everyone just happens to have fun doing their job.

  5. Andy Keil says:

    @ Laura – I took off as they started the 3rd song in the Encore since I had to meet with a member from Low Vs Diamond as they finished up at House of Blues.

    The reason there’s no flash for people in the pit is we’re literally right in the face of the artists, who would want a flash going off every 5-10 seconds while you’re trying to perform? Not me. Plus, professional cameras have a much higher power than a normal point and shoot.

    And finally, think about it, if you’re the artist, do you want to see people standing still being professional while taking photos of you or do you want to see that your music is making it hard for them to take pictures?

  6. Laura says:

    I understand why the Metro bans the flash, as I said, I abide by the rules and can shoot sans it. But, for the photographers who know how to correctly mute and bounce a flash, and know how to execute with minimal shots, it doesn’t go off every 5-10 seconds. It was someone else that was using it and messing with other people’s shots. And professional camera’s have higher power? What does that mean, the flash is brighter? That’s not necessarily the case, a detached and well positioned flash using the correct gear and settings will have less direct impact. The reason the flash is generally banned is because most people with media credentials don’t know how to use it correctly and dial it up directly in the artist’s face. And, frankly the metro is going for an ambiance that removes any distraction.

    I use a flash outdoors for certain occasions as well. Used correctly, it isn’t noticable, b/c you bounce a light flash up and it bounces down towards your subject, just as the stage lights do.

    Second, if I were an artist, I would want the photographers to be professional and get the job done as quickly as possible and then get out of the pit. I’d also want them to take good shots, of which I think a degree of professionalism is preferred.

  7. Andy says:

    First off, I’m not going to argue back and forth about my opinions on here, I would love to talk with you about techniques but I’m not going to flame online.

    Second, I’m glad you’re not an artist! I’ve gotten a lot of positive response when an artist recognizes that I actually care about their music. When I shot the Flaming Lips, Wayne Coyne saw me singing along next to all the “professional” photographers and he gave me some great shots in return. An artist that is bothered by people getting in to their music should look for another job.

    That said, I know my 420EX is a hell of a lot brighter than any point and shoot on the market, that’s what I meant. I don’t know how to use flash very well though and I’ll be the first to admit. I prefer the authentic high ISO, low shutter speed, tiny depth-of-field that I curently shoot in. At least until I get my 5DII.

    I like your site.


  1. […] as what’s to come for the band. I got to the venue a little late because I was covering the Hot Chip show the same […]

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