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Wednesday, June 13, 2007

LastNight: Hot Chip at the Fillmore

Posted By on Wed, Jun 13, 2007 at 8:31 AM

hpim2536_thumb.jpg

Hot Chip

June 12, 2007

The Fillmore, San Francisco, CA.

Better than: reliving the '80s ... barely

Download: a link to the Hot Chip stream

The UK's Hot Chip is so hot right now. It's disgusting.

"You know -- it's when you put it on your tongue and it burns and [pthoo] you spit it out," says guitarist and centerman Al Doyle, referring to the french fry connotations of the band name. Indeed.

While the crowd loved it, the synth-driven pop quintet treaded dangerously close to

[barf] '80s House and raver kitsch Tuesday night during a relentless, hour and half-long, 15-song set at a sold out Fillmore near Japantown. "Over and Over", as well as "Boy From School" garnered the biggest crowd responses, but Doyle and his four mates were determined to road test some new songs from a follow-up to 2006's The Warning, and a lot of the new stuff belongs on Dance Dance Revolution.

After an ok intro, they rejiggered "Boy From School" away from what sounds like a little wah-guitar riff into this synthy 80s trickle sample. It worked, thereby proving their mastery of the material, which they can obviously do any which way. The band inherently has the breadth to garner respect from the IDM scene, but they seemed more interested in the D scene on this tour. See, Hot Chip is dance music for people who hate the Marina.

Some of the best parts of The Warning are the noisiest and most atonal, like their intro "Careful." That shit was out the window in favor of straight four on the floor bangers. Don't get me wrong, the crowd ate it up, but after twenty minutes of 120 BPM vvvvbbb--vvvvbbb--vvvvbbb--vvvvbbb--vvvvbbb--vvvvbbb basslines you start to feel like you're in a rave tent.

They also reworked "No Fit State" but went way past flirting with '80s trash when they quoted New Order's "Tempation." No, I've never seen anyone quite like you before ... oh you've got green eyes, oh you've got blue eyes and now we have all entered that Scottish disco hellhole with Renton from Trainspotting trying to scam on some underage thing now that the junk has worn off and the libido has returned. [Shudder.]

From a performance perspective, the guys have all the star appeal of five webmasters who escaped the IT closet. They geek out so hard over their gear that they barely look up or do anything at all. It is the curse of the synth player, (unless he's got a keytar). Doyle's one guitar solo elicited whoops and hive fives, largely by the fact by the fact that he moved around. That and white people love electric guitar. Dave Chappelle is right. Anytime guitar made even it presence known in the slightest the crowd lapped it up.

In the end it seemed like Hot Chip was holding back; resting on its drum and bass laurels. Perhaps it was the afterparty gig they had lined up for the Beauty Bar. Perhaps it is the ongoing spectre of race, which had somehow creeped into the discussion of the band last year, but now has no place in their starkly caucasian-sounding set. Anyway, the posters were cool.

Previous Experience: Hot Chip at the Indy in August of 2006

Random Detail: Doyle gave me a dirt look when I blinded him with my camera's flash. Sorry, dude.

By the way: they play LA, then it's back to the UK

This link takes you to the hot chip slideshow

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Matt Stroud

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