The motley members of Hot Chip may be able to walk down the street unmolested but these are the guys you want on your guest list, sprinkling sonic fairy dust to get your party started and then keep it going.
They know it too. Huarache Lights – the greatest paean to a pair of trainers since Run DMC’s My Adidas – is no hymn to fashion or consumerism but a celebration of that Friday night feeling which, in singer Alexis Taylor’s case, he gets from lacing up his shoes and picking his tunes in readiness to rock another dancefloor with his DJ set.
It proved to be the perfect curtain-raiser for this celebratory set with all the qualities that make Hot Chip the perfect Friday night band, combining proven club classics with the dynamism and personality of a band performance. Newish drummer Sarah Jones worked like a Trojan throughout, while her male colleagues manned a veritable arsenal of synthesizers and Taylor, who was indeed dressed up for the occasion in a natty linen suit, brought a certain beseeching soul to the party with his distinctive tremulous tenor on One Life Stand, a pretty, plaintive love song which, like so many of their sweet, melodic numbers developed into a blissful dancefloor reverie.
Pumping electro number Flutes encapsulated the contagious fever which can unite a roomful of clubbers – the band’s frontline led the way by executing the world’s simplest linedance. Night and Day souped up proceedings with excitable siren sound effects, then they pushed the mood of the room to ever more euphoric highs with their anthemic mantra Over and Over.
The crowd responded with messy, sweaty abandon – “taps aff!” noted guitarist Al Doyle with approval – but the band remained as fresh and disciplined as the moment they stepped on to the stage, secure enough in their musical skills to flirt with jazz-funk flavours, blended into the overall electro mix so as not to sound like some retro affectation.
They bowed out triumphantly with a gorgeous cover of Bruce Springsteen’s Dancing in the Dark, which they stripped of its rock bombast while preserving the lyrical sentiment and, of course, that melody to punch the air to, then gradually revved up a driving rhythm they could have jammed out all night, had it not been for venue curfew and a late night DJ engagement.