Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Hot Chip: photo by Michael Ligon
A super-hot bill touched down at Kool Haus last week with UK trio The xx and UK electro-dance-pop outfit Hot Chip entertaining the masses. Having recently headlined their own show at the Phoenix earlier this month, I've not much to add about The xx which I haven't already said. While the band's minimalist pop tendencies were still there, there seemed to be more emphasis on their grooveability especially in Oliver Sim's swaying bass lines and Jamie Smith's keen drum machine rhythms. Overall, they seemed more loose and less precise than they come off on record or compared to their show at the Phoenix earlier this month. After that, the crowd was fittingly warmed up for the Hot Chip dance party.
For the record, I'm late to the Hot Chip bandwagon. It was the band's nuanced cover of Joy Division's "Transmission" (including perhaps the most sublime use of steel drum I've ever heard) off the 2009 "War Child - Heroes" compilation which got me to take notice(having since sampled and or purchased their second and third albums respectively, "The Warning" and "Made In The Dark") and since then I've discovered the band's amalgam of organic and electronic instrumentation, creating pop music that is at once cerebral and danceable. The band's most recent album entitled "One Life Stand" had the band hitting the road once again, and fresh off an appearnce at this year's Coachella festival, the band took to the Kool Haus stage last Tuesday night.
It's hard to put it any more succintly than that Hot Chip put on one hell of a dance party. Vocalist Alexis Taylor dressed in a "Wham" band t-shirt, gold(?) trousers and wearing Wayfarer-looking glasses, sang with a certain level of restraint(as he does on record) but his vocal style seems to compliment their music well. It's none more apparent than on their infectious newest single "One Life Stand", a satisfying blend of rhythmic beats, sultry electro/organic instrumentation and singable lyrics. In addition to their several banks of keyboards, their programming setup, drums, and guitar, they added sultry bits of steel drum and french horn. The latter mentioned instruments only add to the band's music geekery and let's face it, even aesthetically, they aren't the hippest looking bunch. But man did they rock the house. While I'd got to the venue not exactly early, I managed to squeeze up front, albeit the right side of the stage(facing the stage) to bear witness to the dance party that proceeded for the next 80 minutes. Fantastic.
Photos: Hot Chip, The xx @ Kool Haus, Toronto (April 20, 2010)
MySpace: The xx
MySpace: Hot Chip