Monday, 18 February 2008

Hot Chip - Manchester Academy 16th Feb 2008

Huuuzzzzzarrr; the gig season is upon us! The first of what's planned to be a slew of forthcoming shows, the missus and I popped over to Manchester to catch Hot Chip performing at the newly refurbished Academy. Actually I was led to believe this venue was to be newly refurbished, which was why the damned place had been closed since last March. As we eagerly stepped into the dimly lit building it soon became apparent that little to no work had actually been done, and most alarmingly of all was that the much needed new bar hadn't been installed. "No matter" I thought, we've always managed to get served (eventually) at one of the two bars...wait an 'effing minute! Where's the other bar??!!!!

Turns out that after nearly twelve months of re-building, the only noticeable difference was a) there was only one (the smaller of the two) bar open and that b) the toilets had been relocated (actually the words 'relocated' and 'toilet' may be a bit of a stretch- they've simply shut the old ones and put a collection of portaloos a short jog away from the building) Being a chivalrous s.o.b I sent Lisa into the swarming crowds to fetch the booze, I figured she would be less likely to be squashed by some sweaty giant in the melee in the seriously packed bar. I was wrong so decided to join her. Approximately 30 minutes later (or more accurately - the entire length of support act Matthew Dear's set) we emerged, damaged and sweaty beers in hand. So far so good.

Hot Chip eventually made their way on stage and judging from the crowd's reaction it looked as if a good night was install for all (perhaps except that poor girl I was squashed behind in the queue for the bar...should you be reading this I can assure you that it WAS my mobile phone digging into the small of your back not my cock).
And it was (note the grammatical clanger of starting a sentence with 'and' is a homage to my favourite Hot Chip Song) a good night...I suppose. My only real issue which has been hotly disputed by my better half was that the songs didn't really carry over that well to a bigger stage. The up tempo songs plodded somewhat and tracks like 'Over and over' felt tired, the band looking as if it was the millionth time they'd had to perform it. Nevertheless is was a good night despite the venue's owners trying to spoil it for us. Not that I think you should make comparisons to other bands of similar ilk (I'm going to do it anyway), but when we saw LCD Soundsytem at the same venue last year, they managed to successfully translate their sound to the audience with (in comparison) consummate ease. Perhaps my real issue is my disappointment with Hot Chip's new album 'Made in the Dark' where I'd hoped they'd be stepping 'it' up a gear rather than ambling round with a retro sound, which to these ears resembles early Squeeze.

Anyway- I'm sure by the time of the summer festivals they'd have got their shit together and no doubt I'll be proved wrong about their album (I haven't given up on it yet).
In the meantime instead of posting some Hot Chip tracks (which would be requested to be removed in seconds no doubt) please find two Hot Chip Covers versions and Squeeze's 'Up The Junction'- which I'm sure you'll agree sounds similar to a few tracks on 'Made in the Dark'.

Please let me know if you agree?

Hot Chip Cover Versions:

Portastatic - And I Was A Boy From School
The Miserable Rich- Over and Over

(debatable) Hot Chip proto types:
Squeeze -Take Me I'm Yours
Squeeze -Goodbye Girl

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