The Block Is Hot: Hot Chip Take Over the Jimmy Kimmel Show
The Green Room backstage at the Jimmy Kimmel Show is one of the more supremely wonderful places on earth. It's Xanadu--a place specifically designed to hit all the pleasure receptors of the male mind. No matter how refined or cultured you think you might be, it's impossible not to get a little jangled when thrown smack dab into world of miniature cheesecake-filled buffets, an open bar, leggy blondes sipping Cabernet in corners , a string of vintage video games like Ms. Pacman and Galaga and walls plastered with big-screen plasma televisions beaming Pau Gasol's successful attempt to integrate into the framework of the triangle offense.
Of course, you'd expect nothing less from a guy who made his name hosting something called "The Man Show" but still, this is sort of the place where time stops. I mean Tuesday was a pretty big deal and all, but nary a single screen had election returns on. This was just as well because it would've been incredibly annoying to have had to deal with a bunch of dudes in fedoras waxing fauxlosophic on the nuances of Obama's health plan.
Moreover, that's besides the point of the Kimmel Green Room. It's escapism at its finest, one of those LA fantasies that you always suspect is going on the entire time right under your nose. Y'know, turn the fake candlestick, the walls spin around and you find yourself face to face with a bevy of beautiful women, a tomato quiche and Alexis Taylor, the lead singer of Hot Chip shooting pool wearing a electric yellow "Where's the Beef" hat and a pair of argyle MC Hammer pants. Due to programmer Felix Martin's illness, the band had missed its lone LA gig at the El Rey the night prior but they'd wrangled a replacement for the Kimmel show and the next thing I knew was several drinks deep, hypnotized by this temple of the Id. (Though to be fair, the hypnosis may have been caused by the dazzling combination of argyle and Zubaz .)
Jimmy Kimmel: The Talk Shows he's created over the years, I don't really watch them, but the fact that he's making them, I respect that.
The promotional blitz has to do with Hot Chip's, Made in the Dark. You've probably heard of it, after all, this is a blog. It's a solid record with some spectacular moments and some middling ones. Truth be told, I stand somewhere between the 7.0 Pitchfork review and LA Weekly editor, Randall Roberts' break-down of why Hot Chip should be your new favorite band. Made in the Dark is definitely good but as the 'Fork review points out it lacks anything as poignant as "And I Was a Boy From School" or as buoyant as "Over and Over" (though it comes close several times). Plus, its last two songs are pretty useless with Hot Chip suddenly abandoning song-craft for boring piano-man ballads that suggest Elton John with a fixation for Kraftwerk and Prince.
The live show is a different story altogether. At last year's Bonnaroo and Coachella, both times Hot Chip blew me away and certainly not through charisma or stage presence. They barely acknowledge the crowd and rarely show emotion. It doesn't matter. They bring the funk like Redman despite looking more Red Buttons. Songs that float lazily on the record are gutted and re-constituted into anthems. As Randall's feature pointed out, it's hard not to dance and this poses massive logistical problems for their heavily Caucasian fan base. The average Hot Chip show can get ugly, think awkward hipsters performing whooping crane-like thrusts that look more suited to an attack strategy from The Karate Kid.
On Kimmel, Hot Chip played just two songs, first single, "Ready for the Floor," and "Hold On," the latter a seemingly odd choice considering at nearly six and a half minutes it's the albums longest track. It's also its best and I imagine its selection means Hot Chip must be aware of exactly how great it is. It's the sort of song that actually sounds like what Craig Mack thought "Flavor in Your Ear" sounded like: "some robotic futuristic George Jetson" shit. It's space disco with bongos sung by a tiny British guy channeling Prince in argyles and a chartreuse hat. And it's brilliant. Weird, I know. Even more impressive was that "Ready for the Floor," was the only tune that aired, which means that Hot Chip played "Hold On" strictly for just 100 or so people that swarmed Kimmel's stage. But the way they played it, you'd have thought they were headlining a festival. It was about the only way to end a very bizarre and very fun endeavor. And how about that Pau Gasol?
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