Hot Chip, Barrowland, Glasgow, Sat 19 Oct
- Craig Angus
- 21 October 2019
Cult favourites return to Glasgow with a life-affirming set of soulful electronica
There's a celebratory feel to Hot Chip's set tonight. The fabled ballroom floor has an extra spring, pounded relentlessly by a Glasgow audience that's in perpetual motion for the duration. Why so special? Underrated cult favourites tour in support of their well-received but not especially hip seventh album. Devoted fans turn out in force, casual fans are won over, everyone goes home (or to the Subby) happy and the world keeps turning. To reduce such a jubilant occasion to this dry analysis would be to eliminate the romance from the performance and miss the essence of what makes popular music such an important thing – in short, an absolute sin.
Times are hard, turbulent and uncertain, the country never more divided. Hot Chip are a shot in the arm tonight, a technicolour adrenaline rush that's a reminder of the privilege of enjoying music, the togetherness, the escapism, the community. It's all there in 'Melody of Love', which asks 'do you have faith to feel in this world?', before offering a consoling arm round the shoulder. 'All you need is here, it's moving in the air / All you need to hear, beyond this blue despair'.
Tonight's set focuses on the aforementioned new record, which forms the backbone of the night without dominating proceedings. 'Hungry Child' grows into a first-class floor filler, 'Spell' bewitches with a vocoder call-and-response and, fleshed out with live drums and a throbbing baseline, 'Positive' is one of the standout tracks of the night, a plea for unity, understanding and compassion set to a classic disco tune.
The remainder is testament to Hot Chip's enduring back catalogue (only debut album Coming on Strong isn't represented). 'Huarache Lights' is a majestic opening track, its ominous call to 'replace us with the things that do the job better' made to look ridiculous by the band's skill and humanity. The swaggering 'Flutes' gets a rapturous reception, with Owen Clarke (who's a turbo charged, strutting presence throughout), Al Doyle (in a fetching, wide brimmed hat) and Rob Smoughton (who covers every inch of the stage) joining Alexis Taylor in a choreographed routine that's an infectious piece of simple showmanship – this must be a rather enjoyable band to be part of. 'And I Was A Boy From School' gets a massive singalong too, Joe Goddard taking a well-earned swig of his Buckfast at its climax.
The night should peak with the pre-encore run of 'Over and Over', 'Melody of Love' and 'Ready For The Floor', but the band emerge for one last hurrah – a riotous version of the Beastie Boy's 'Sabotage' and the euphoric closer 'I Feel Better'. A flawless show from one of Britain's greatest modern bands, and a hell of a Saturday night.