Hot Chip, Passion Pit, Omar Souleyman
Better Than: passionless pits, cold chips, obvious puns.
When it comes to intricately grand disco-infused future rock for dance-loving adults, despite our continued sadness and confusion over LCD Soundsystem's breakup, we can take comfort knowing that Hot Chip is still going strong. The London-based electropop outfit played a tight and highly danceable show for a packed house last night at the Hollywood Bowl as the headliners of a KCRW World Music Festival. Also featured were pop kids Passion Pit and Syrian musician Omar Souleyman.
After cancelling a handful of shows in conjunction with lead singer Michael Angelakos' announcement that he needed some time to improve his mental health, Passion Pit is just getting into the swing of a tour behind their recently released sophomore LP Gossamer. In any case, Angelakos looked every bit the healthy hipster gentleman as he delivered a set which grew more compelling in sound and scope as it progressed. Rich treatments of new songs like “Take a Walk” and fleshed out takes of early hits like “Little Secrets” found Passion Pit comfortably maturing into a legit live act after initially blowing up hard and fast. While Angelakos' falsetto felt forced in moments, his singing voice seems to have developed in richness, and it's encouraging to watch the group expand their indie pop staying power with an increasingly sophisticated sound.
Between sets, a warm breeze and a crowd full of indie rock eye candy made the Hollywood Bowl an incredibly pleasant place to be. Hot Chip took the stage just after dusk, a gaggle of British men in slightly rumpled suitcoats who launched into an immediately kinetic “Shake a Fist” off of 2008's Made In the Dark. “There's absolutely a fucking shitload of people here,” declared potty-mouthed and perpetually smiling guitarist Al Doyle, and it took about three seconds for much of the audience to get off their asses and dance. Hot Chip frontman Alexis Taylor calmly and commandingly wove his pristine falsetto, a voice as true to form live as it is on record, through hits and deep cuts alike, although they did not play “Motion Sickness,” which caused the woman sitting next to me to nearly start crying.
Signature jams including “One Life Stand” and “Over and Over” were brought to new levels of epic via the group's signature thump and shimmer synth layers and moments of joyfully ecstatic percussion. By the time the too-brief set reached its peak, the richly layered output had transcended into a full on jam session with the band seamlessly transitioning from “Ready For the Floor” to “How Do You Do” to a shimmery cover of Fleetwood Mac's “Everywhere.” Like the bulk of Hot Chip's work, the latter was urgent but dreamy, technically tight and felt really good to sing and dance to. “Nothing is wasted, life is worth living, heaven is waiting, just look to the stars” sang Taylor during the show-closing classic “I Feel Better, and that was really nice too.
On a final note, while it initially appeared that Taylor's t-shirt had a bunch of chicken nuggets on it, post-show investigation suggests that that they were in fact hot chips, which is amazing.
Personal Bias: A guy I used to date once gave me a copy of The Warning for my birthday with a card that read, “I just can't respect a woman who doesn't know much about Hot Chip.”
Overheard in the Crowd: “Holy shit. We've got better seats than Jason Bentley.”
Random Notebook Dump: Guessing that when the singer was a kid he was kind of nerdy and got made fun of and kids at school smashed his glasses and shit and he thought, one day motherfuckers, I'll show YOU.
Set list below
Shake a Fist
Boy From School
Don't Deny Your Heart
One Life Stand
Night and Day
Over and Over
How Do You Do
Ready for the Floor
Everywhere (Fleetwood Mac cover)
I Feel Better