Hot Chip: Standing Room Only With This British Band

Hot Chip
Riviera Theatre – Chicago, IL
April 19, 2010

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Fresh off the Coachella bill and ready for their five-stop U.S. tour, English electro-synthpop band Hot Chip started the night off with a standing ovation before the blokes could even manage to crank out their first note. The sextet’s fourth album, One Life Stand, was just released at the start of this past February. The fans who packed the sold out gig at Chicago’s historic Riviera Theatre were finally getting their chance to witness Hot Chip in all their electronic pop glory. The band’s newly released record was fully represented alongside many of Hot Chip’s biggest hits from previous albums The Warning and Made In The Dark. Hot Chip gave Chicago a spectacular performance. But then, what else would you expect from these overseas musicians?

More photos of Hot Chip after the jump…

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Opening with One Life Stand‘s “Hand Me Down Your Love,” Hot Chip got the entire crowd up and dancing from the fan-made dance floor to the nosebleed seats in the upper balcony. The floor was a sea of bodies, clapping hands, and bumping rumps. The balcony was a massive wave of arms and legs constantly moving and shaking to the floor rhythms.

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In an almost surreal way, I imagined Hot Chip to be a few different pop bands of the ’80s. In the style of a high energy show, they produce fans screaming almost as if possessed by the rockin’ electric guitar riffs. There was an exuberant spirit keeping the crowd’s energy from dying as Hot Chip played through some of their best work over their last albums. Hot Chip was far from lacking any energy at the Riviera. They filled the entire house with waves of stamina and electricity, keeping people off their butts and on their two newly dancing feet. I was overcome with a strange feeling like I was at a club or rave, but with the Riv’s GA floor and balcony seating combination!

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While the 2004 debut album Coming On Strong was not represented well last night, Hot Chip played through their hottest hits. “Over And Over,” “And I Was A Boy From School,” along with one hell of a “Hold On” finale overtook the Chicago audience’s ears and lower limbs for much of the night. Oddly enough, Hot Chip sounded more complete and comprehensive live in concert than on their studio records. Not that there is anything missing or even lacking from their phenomenal musical releases. I suppose there is something present in their live show that their fans never knew was “missing.”

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Hot Chip rocked out on a few retro instruments such as the steel drums and cowbell. Fanatical hyperactive fans competed with a wailing synth line that sent chills up your spine. The pulse of the drums remained pretty unchanged throughout the whole concert, often overtaking the vocals or Hot Chip’s signature catchy pop melodies. With that in mind, the band’s show has the potential to become boring now that the song we just heard from 2010’s One Life Stand has an undeniably similar beat as the prior tune. On the other hand, it was an enjoyable experience to hear many songs extended into alternative versions. Hot Chip’s most notable hit “Hold On” was prolonged by at least an extra ten minutes of pure pop goodness. There was no way the shoulder-to-shoulder crowd could remain standing still.

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Written by: Blake Russell
Photographed by: Jennifer Boyer

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