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Hot Chip: Music to make you dance all night…until 11:15

Posted by Olivier / April 17, 2008

If you like melodic Electropop, then chances are you’re a fan of Hot Chip, and chances are even better that you would have enjoyed their show Tuesday night at a packed Metropolis. On tour following the release of a new album, Made in the Dark, Hot Chip didn’t disappoint fans of its earlier work (like me), setting the tone right off the bat by opening with its most famous tune, “Over and Over”. This song rivals only PB and J’s “Young Folks” in recent years in its miraculous ability to be both “indie” and mass-consumed (although not including anything featured in an ad for an Apple product, in which case Feist is in a league of her own).

There is almost no music that I prefer to listen to while intoxicated and looking to party than Hot Chip. Not only is it danceable in an unabashedly awkward white guy type of way, but the vocals, melody, and instrumentation set it apart from the grating repetition and tin ear of much electronic music, where often the only way to distinguish one song from next is through some gimmick (“You mean the whistle song? No, no, the one with the sirens”).

OK, that was mostly just an excuse to make fun of bad techno. Even if Hot Chip is in another genre altogether, the point is that their music is fun and doesn’t rely too heavily on electronic beats to do the work for them. It’s true that during last night’s show they could have turned their instruments up and the beats down just a tad, but no one seemed to mind. In fact, despite the size of the venue, Metropolis had a small-club vibe for most of the evening: ironically-dressed guys were dancing with pretty girls dressed head to toe with random accessories (the “friperie girls”, as my friend Noah calls them), and everyone was ready to shake it until the wee hours.

Except. The show ended at 11:15.

Excuse me? One of the hottest electropop bands in the business is playing Montreal, and the show’s over at 11:15? Even my parents are still up watching Lloyd Robertson at that time. The entire crowd stood paralyzed for at least five minutes, as if hoping this was a practical joke and Hot Chip would emerge any moment to say “Just Kidding” and start ripping an incredible beat. Even half an hour after the show was over, the majority of us were still just hanging around in shock, wondering what to do with ourselves for the rest of the evening. I serendipitously ended up at a tiny reggae joint on St. Denis helpfully called Maison du Reggae, where we were treated to about three hours of amazing collaborative reggae performed by pretty much everyone else at the club but us.

Despite this seemingly happy ending, I felt a little bit like Homer in the Simpson’s episode where he sues the all-you-can-eat place for not giving him all he could eat, and his evidence that he wasn’t satisfied is Marge’s shameful admittance that they drove around all night afterwards looking for another restaurant. I had come to Hot Chip for all-I-could-party, and there I was at 1 am, dancing to reggae and shamefully trying to feed my unsatiated hunger to get down.

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James / April 17, 2008 at 07:04 am
I Love Neon's 9th anniversary with MSTRKRFT and Boys Noize is the all-night dance party you were looking for :) The crowd was younger at that show, too.
Michelle / April 17, 2008 at 08:08 am
Were you at the same show I was? Yes the show ended early and the crowd was full of wannabe hipsters (I've never seen so many pairs of charmingly unattractive glasses in my life!) but I found the crowd DID seem to mind the sound issues. (For example, "And I Was a Boy From School" has a really distinctive chorus and you could barely hear it through the beats & distortion.) While the band managed to get the crowd moving to "Over and Over" (which they played sixth, by my count, not as the opener) and a few others tracks, for the most part the dance floor was confined to a small nucleus at the front, even for those (like me) who were about mid-way back and who WANTED to dance their ass off - so my friend & I created a little dance floor of two. As much as I love Hot Chip, I've seen the the Metropolis hopping before (e.g., DJ Champion) and what I saw on Tuesday was rather disappointing. I think I would have loved the reggae night, though!
O / April 17, 2008 at 03:57 pm
I think we were at the same show, Michelle. I arrived a couple of minutes late (how does a head-liner start at 9:30?), so that's probably where the O & O confusion came from. I was also relegated to the back, and all I could see were charmingly unattractive glasses and what I thought was dancing. Yeah, Metropolis could have been more hopping...if it was up to me, I'd rather see these guys perform in a sweaty closet.
Michelle / April 17, 2008 at 10:58 pm
Thanks for the clarification Olivier (and sorry - I get a little ranty in the morning!). I guess it we were just both victim to the show starting & ending ridiculously early...
O / April 18, 2008 at 03:54 pm
Please keep up the rants, they're what makes this job fun.

Sounds like we should have checked out MSTRKRFT instead...although they have the advantage of being only DJ's...easier to play all night when there's no instruments.
jeff / April 22, 2008 at 03:52 pm
11:15 Lame! thats really too bad. Another case of great in the studio bad in real life? I also wonder if this glasses trend is as big as the mustache trend back in the day. maybe a future post? These are questions I ask myself.
O / April 24, 2008 at 07:04 am
I'd say it's bigger than mustaches, but smaller than trucker hats. Mind you that both of those tend to look terrible on girls...advantage awkward glasses.
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