Saturday, May 1, 2010

A letter from the Mayor of Hot Chip: San Francisco Show Review

Happy weekend, reader!

Well, my friends and I are almost finished sharing our recent San Francisco adventures with you. Today marks the very last show review, and we saved the best for last: Hot Chip.

This show review is provided by graphic artist, marathon runner, and crepe connoisseur Andrew Rutkowski.  British sensations The xx opened for Hot Chip, so Andrew kindly included their brand new video for "Islands." Is everyone here already intimately familiar with The xx? Because, ZOMG, they are incredible. And all under 20 years old! (what am I doing with my life?!)

Anyhoo, here is Andrew, i.e. "Mayor of Hot Chip" (you'll find out why in a second) reporting da show:

Out of the several shows we had lined up, I was most excited to see Hot Chip and The xx. I'm a huge fan of both bands, so I knew it'd be great. I keep a running list of bands that I would travel to see and Hot Chip has been on it ever since I missed them at ACL 2008.

Unlike the other shows we had scheduled for the trip, this one was in Oakland, which required a 15-minute train ride out of the city. The Fox Theater was gorgeous. Really, nothing in Austin compares to it. This is apparently due to a $75 million overhaul -- money well spent, I'd say.

We made our way up about 10 feet from the stage, and discovered another gem in the Fox Theater's crown—the venue had cocktail waitresses! It was already shaping up to be a night to (try to) remember.

The openers for Hot Chip were The xx, a London-based trio all under 20 years old. I am constantly impressed with their music because they are able to say so much with so little. Their sound is restrained both musically and lyrically. It's romantic and relatable without being trite.

Take these lyrics from Islands, for example. "I don't have to leave anymore, what I have is right here. Spend my nights and days before searching the world for what's right here. I am yours now, so now I don't ever have to leave. I've been found out, so now I'll never explore." Swooooon.

I would seriously fall for anyone who wrote this for me, sang this to me or even played this on their iPhone while standing outside my window. I think Tolly said it best when she tweeted "The XX = so dreamy. Watching them right now. Good songs for loving, if ya know what I mean." I know what you mean, Tolly.

And here's the new video for "Islands." Perfect.

Their live performance is delivered with such emotion and artfulness that I get goosebumps every time I see them (this was my third time). The videos I took on GARY!'s camera seemed to have disappeared, so you'll have to trust me when I say: CATCH THEM LIVE if you can.

The xx's mellow set provided a perfect balance to what was next—the biggest dance party the Fox Theater has ever seen. Hot Chip has put out four studio albums and are known for their witty lyrics and body-shaking beats. We were somehow forced up to the second row in-between sets, but I wasn't complaining. Second row for Hot Chip was not a bad place to be.

As a huge Hot Chip fan, I love a lot of their obscure, lesser known songs. I didn't expect to hear very many of them, if any at all. However, they put together an amazing set, with some of my fave obscurities excluded, a mix of the up-tempo songs from their newly-released album and older crowd favorites. "One Life Stand" is the title track from their latest album, and sounded great live.

Unfortunately, this was the only video of the show I got from that night. I was firmly told to stop recording by security because I was rocking too hard! (That wasn't the real reason). So I obliged. But thanks to YouTube, I found this video someone else took at the show. Here's "One Pure Thought."

And the end of their set, Hot Chip left the stage leaving two of their biggest tracks - including "Ready for the Floor" - untouched, so I knew we were up for a mega-encore. And it was epic.

The encore consisted of "I Feel Better," "No Fit State" (one of those fave obscurities of mine) and... READY FOR THE FLOOR! Once the crowd recognized Ready For the Floor after a brief intro, it was ON. Everyone was dancing like they were auditioning for Dance TV, and here's a video for Ready For the Floor that was taken from the balcony. (You can see our dance group at the front just right of center).

I think it was Tolly that dubbed me mayor of Hot Chip at this point. I didn't realize I was running for the Mayor of anything, but I'll take it. (EDITOR'S NOTE: Y'all this is because Andrew LITERALLY colonized the dance floor. As in, shaking hands with strangers, kissing babies, and asking if he could count on them to dance their ass off for "Ready for the Floor," just like a real mayor!) I put a lot of sweat, double high jumps and crowd-hyping into that night, so I guess the designation was rightfully earned.

The crowd was huge factor to my fondness of this performance. We made a lot of nameless friends that night. Also, I hadn't noticed the whole show, but I turned around after the encore and saw this. Wow.

Afterwards, I got the set list. Score.

And Tolly and GARY! did this.

Au revoir, San Francisco, The xx, and Hot Chip!



Frank J. Rivera said...

Tolly, these contributors you're getting. Good stuff. Now I need to see Hot Chip sometime in my life.

I like thinking you're a 21st century Fagin to Gary & Andrew's Oliver Twist.
-"Look, Tolly, I done completed anutha post."
-"Oy! Wit all these typos! No gruel for you!"
-"Yes, missus Tolly."

Tolly said...

LOL Frank - that's exactly how it is!

Well, actually. I prefer to think of myself as a Daddy Warbucks, and Gary and Andrew are my orphans. They cartwheel off a couple of beds, I take them in my arms and show them the good life, they perform a quick musical number and then it's off to write some posts!

Mai said...

that's so funny u saw the xx, i just got into them but my friend is their merch person and their music is rad. i've been able to see hot chip a few times when i used to intern/work at EMI/astralwerks but never in a venue as pretty as the fox theater in oakland. i've been to a few fox theaters (not sure if they're all owned by the same the filmore brand) but not the one in oakland..looks awesommmee.

Austin Eavesdropper said...

Yo @Mai. Wow, The xx. Color me impressed. Their debut album came out in AUGUST and already I feel like they've got the music world by the balls. Know what I mean?

So cool that your buddy is their merch person. How did he/she land that gig? What I like about their music is the "coreness" of their sound, for lack of a better word. The feel of their songs music is so consistent, but not so much that it bores you - far from it. I feel like I could listen to that album over and over again.

mai said...

haha it's the same as how all of us land a merch gig, we work w/ one band and then get recommended for other gigs. she is a tour manager also but sold merch for cold war kids (ur other faves), she wants revenge, gaslight anthem, etc. totally know about the have the music world by balls thing, hoping it lasts cuz the music world is very fickle these days.

Austin Eavesdropper said...

@Mai Haha I like this little convo we've got going in the comments section, at midnight on a Sunday. :) Anyway, wow, do I know how to form sentences? Apparently not:

"The feel of their songs music is so consistent,"

--What? Does that even mean.

Moving on - eeeeek! Cold War Kids!!!! Speaking of which, that's one band who has transcended the fickle tastes of the music industry, and music fans - you are so right about that. Seems like a "hot" indie band gets about a year, max. I already feel the love for MGMT waning.

But Cold War Kids....they are like The National. They consistently put out good records (think CWK only has 2 right now), and they are kind of rock purists. They don't mess with the genre too terribly much, but that guy's voice is so unique, and their songs so catchy, that their stuff feels incredibly fresh.

This comment has officially turned into a thesis.

Megalithic Rick said...

Excellente recap of Hot Chip by Andrew the Mayor of Hot Chip lol...Makes me wanna see'em again. I o so hope Hawt Chip come to Austin this year (ACL wink wink). I got their new album, but I'm kinda if-y on it. I like half of the songs on the new album alot but the other half...not so much. LCD Soundsystem seems like its getting mixed reviews on performance and new album too. Im still gonna go to LCD at Stubbs though. Btw, I'm trying to post a lil more Tolly :) I think Ima a do a post on peanut butter( lol) soon after my 80's ninja post.

Austin Eavesdropper said...

@Megalithic Rick - OMG! It's like a ghost!! So good to see you again. :) I am going to go read your blog right now, in hopes that I see something there about peanut butter.

And, you're not the only one with mixed feelings about the new Hot Chip album. I think so many fans were craving another "Ready for the Floor," you know? But this album is more cerebral - more think-y.

Anyway, they put on a killah show. Thank Andrew for the excellent recap!