Generally speaking, when any artist heads out on tour to promote their seventh album, is it a nostalgic affair; a celebration of hits gone by and a CD release that arrives weeks before Fathers Day. Hot Chip, however, still feel like a band with a lot to give, with a 15-song set that included six cuts from their new album, their confidence was more than rewarded by a sold-out crowd that did not wane for the entirety of their set – their biggest headline show since forming a decade and a half ago.
The concert opened with ‘Huarache Lights’ – the opening track from Hot Chip’s 2015 album Why Make Sense – and went on visit each of their seven albums, with the omission of their debut record. This may have been an unrealised opportunity to add some perspective and poignancy to the occasion, but with an arsenal of songs as strong as this, a few sacrifices had to be made.
One of the Putney band’s greatest weapons is their inclusivity; die-hard fanboys and curious +1s can enjoy this act on completely level ground, with frontman Alexis Taylor’s penchant for euphoric synths adorned with hooky choruses penetrating every inch of Alexandra Palace – which itself has transformed into a dancefloor for the evening.
Each track – old and new – landed with as much purpose as the last, and the evening played out with the ecstatic group cohesion of a rave, and the jovial accessibility of an evening of karaoke.
Midway through the three-song encore, this sense of karaoke was fully embraced by frontman Alexis Taylor, who held a microphone in each fist to perform an animated rendition of Beastie Boys’ anthem ‘Sabotage’ – for which the crowd reached deep into their energy reserves.
Indie-disco mainstays such as ‘Ready For The Floor’ and ‘I Feel Better’ (one of the noughties’ most underappreciated floor-fillers) are always going to bring a sense of climax to proceedings, but there was no implication that this crowd were awaiting the payoff or relief after a set that could easily have stood up without any of Hot Chip’s biggest songs.
Fan favourite, ‘The Warning’, didn’t feature on the evening -as it rarely does – but with an endless stream of solid hooks and lasers continuously illuminating the vast venue, this was not an evening to dwell on nostalgia, but to celebrate the here and now.
To call Hot Chip indie royalty carries with it implications of reflectiveness, or a portfolio that is buried in the vaults of history – whereas this is a band who as exciting and as current and any other group who are touring currently. Here’s to another seven albums.
Words by @mattganfield