The last time I was in Sheffield Leadmill, I watched Pullled Apart By Horses, consumed inadvisable quantities of alcohol and generally felt like a bit of a lad amongst a testosterone fuelled crowd. This time round, the atmosphere couldn't be more different. Hot Chip are a band who have always had the potential to appeal to people of all ages, and it's both comforting and inspiring that I am one of the youngest people here, and definitely not the only female. With their fantastic fifth album In Our Heads out the next day, there is a sense in the air that they are finally on the edge of receiving the mainstream respect they deserve, contributing to the fact that tonight is completely sold out and temperatures are rising, despite the air conditioning in the venue.
Following support from Joe Goddard’s DJ project The 2 Bears, (reasonably ignored by the jostling crowd, as the DJ booth is in the opposite direction to the stage), the five piece take to the stage in a blur of strobes. Settling themselves in front of their instruments, they launch into album opener Motion Sickness, it’s swimming refrain getting heads bobbing despite it’s unfamiliarity. We are rewarded for our patience with And I Was A Boy From School, sounding delightfully at home despite it’s age.
My smugness at already owning a copy of In Our Heads continues, for this is a gig structured around showcasing the new record, and rightly so. There are a few restless feet during Look At Where We Are, a slow jam classic in the waiting, but to my ears it sounds blissful, just the right degree of tentativeness in Alexis Taylor’s voice to give it a vulnerability unseen in most RnB songs. It’s positioned cleverly mid set, giving everyone a break after the double threat that is Night and Day and Flutes, the two singles that get everyone dancing as flamboyantly as possible in the confined space.
Hot Chip have never particularly been showmen – they are too absorbed in their performance, too caught up in the music. That said, they seem grateful to be here, Alexis thanking the crowd in between songs, sporting one of his own bands Olympic themed tour shirts. They seem perfectly aware of their talents, delivering a triumphant Ready For The Floor with a look of knowing on their faces. It’s slowed down live intro is impressively reminiscent of Daft Punk, inciting one crowd member behind me to remark in awed tones that they sound ‘tight as fook.’ He’s not wrong. But before, they descend into levels of untouchable cool, they pull a cover of Fleetwood Mac’s Everywhere out, before indulging in another new album track ‘Let Me Be Him’ as a finale. Just because they can. You could never accuse Hot Chip of being anything but a band of music lovers, who do what they do with their own enjoyment in mind. It’s lucky that everything they do is so damn good.
To read my review of Hot Chip's new album In Our Heads, click here