We like ours with sauce here at the Londonist, and shakin' their maracas and booties like streetwalkers in a Miami Vice musical, South London homies Hot Chip served it up thick at their biggest headliner to date last week at the slowly crumbling Astoria.
Surprisingly, for an electro-pop outfit that barricades itself, Kraftwerk-style, behind keyboards at gigs, and recorded two albums in vocalist and synth dude Joe Goddard's bedroom studio, Hot Chip sizzled onstage. Joe bounced from side-to-side like an '80s aerobics instructor while Al Doyle showed us how to headbang a synthesizer. At percussion-a-go-go moments, each member of the five-piece band played two instruments simultaneously, or threw rattles into the crowd while they took it easy for a bit.
But these kids don't just show up and get on with it. Research is key in the Hot Chip camp and Khan, our security guard on the scene, reported that lead singer Alexis Taylor's cover wasn't blown in his good 15 minutes, balconyside, scoping the joint during the Junior Boys' romping set. Those nifty acoustic calculations served the band well as Alexis's soaring McCartney-ish tenor belted out the band's part-poetry, part-nonsense lyrics over the beats, percussion and Joe's low'n'melodic counterpoint vocals.
Proving every bit worthy of their Mercury nomination as we expected them to be, this bunch of geeky London boys rocked their retro synths and guitars over nostalgic ravebeats while the fragile warmth of their vocals, droll lyrics, musicianship and experimental attitude took them beyond myriad influences including New Order, Prince, Madlib, Beta Band, and Kraftwerk. The crowd woke up for And I was a Boy from School, swivel-danced to Colours, clapped with The Beach Party, chanted with Alexis's baby's got green eyes, baby's got grey eyes New Order tribute over No Fit State, and even the loafers in the balcony seats waved their hands in the air like they just didn't care at the hit
encore, Over and Over. And so did we.