Gig of the week: Synthpop dreamboats Hot Chip are back
After playing many Irish festivals, the band will play their first Dublin concert in 8 years
Hot Chip will play the Olympia
Hot Chip are very much part of the fabric in the Irish music festival scene and rarely a year goes by where they don’t appear in a field in some form. However, as regularly as they visit us, not including DJ sets and members Joe Goddard and Al Doyle making appearances with their respective side gigs The 2 Bears and LCD Soundsystem, it’s been roughly eight years since the synthpop dreamboats played a standalone gig in Dublin.
Going through the Irish gig archives, they played the Ambassador (RIP) in 2006, Tripod (RIP) in 2008, Andrew’s Lane Theatre (RIP) circa 2011 and the Limelight in Belfast in 2015. And that’s it. Every other appearance has been at Electric Picnic, Oxegen, Metropolis, Longitude, All Together Now and Forbidden Fruit, so their upcoming Olympia gig will be a relief for Hot Chip fans who are allergic to the outdoors.
On the go since 2000 and knocking out indie hits almost consistently since 2006’s Over and Over, their tunes have guided many of us through school days, college nights, break-ups, make-ups, weddings and mid-life crises. Just as they walked with you through life, their music has also sadly outlasted and outlived numerous music venues, magazines, review sites, festivals and dedicated alternative music radio stations and TV shows.
Back when iPods could store your entire music catalogue before stocks, health and weather apps started clogging up valuable memory space, their first three albums, Coming On Strong (2004), The Warning (2006) and Made in the Dark (2008) probably had their own comfy spot. And the same year that they release their seventh album, this year’s heartfelt and colourful A Bath Full of Ecstasy, iTunes officially began the phasing out period on all Mac products, proving that nothing lasts forever. The last 15 years in the music industry have been full of contradictions. As we’re told that we don’t buy music on iTunes anymore, the vinyl industry booms and for every music venue or festival that shuts down, another one gets its wings. With all of this, we’re lucky to have bands like Hot Chip who keep on delivering, even if the tides of the industry are eternally against them.
As fond as they are for repetition in their melodies and lyrics (like a monkey with a miniature cymbal, you might say), they are masters in poignancy, with 2008’s Ready for the Floor being a shining example of this. With a chopped refrain of “do it, do it, do it, do it now”, the song suddenly turns into an act of encouragement for a friend who’s too anxious to hit the dance floor.
Or what about the sincerity of One Life Stand? As menacing keyboards pad the verses, the chorus cuts through the superficiality that’s often paired with night life and offers a moment of clarity and commitment. While their peers LCD Soundsystem conducted an orchestra of paranoia, grumpiness and cynicism that was disguised as something to dance to, Hot Chip’s beauty is that, between the synths and the swells, they go straight for the feels in their lyrics. “You said this was the way back,” sings frontman Alexis Taylor on 2006’s Boy from School, a song that mourns the passing of time, and as he harmonises with Goddard’s deep voice, he summons a sadness that resonates with everyone.
It’s easy to take a band like Hot Chip for granted when, as much as anything in life, we shouldn’t. “Have you left space for me in this life?” they ask on Melody of Love and 19 years in and seven albums deep, all signs point to yes.
Hot Chip play the Limelight, Belfast, on Wednesday, October 16th,
and the Olympia Theatre , Dublin, on Thursday, October 17th