And so it was I set off for the gig harbouring little in the way of expectations save for some marginal nod towards being entertained. I was in for a shock. The first one being that the synth pop pickers were already on stage when I arrived at the unseemingly early time 8.30 pm. The second was that the place was chocca.
The Cockney combo were on the road promoting their latest oeuvre, the pleasingly titled A Bath full of Ecstasy and in the interest of journalistic integrity I bravely battled my way to near the front of the stage to witness the full force of this latest musical offering.
Another illusion was shattered when instead of the tinny three-piece outfit of my imagination, I was greeted by the sight of a seven piece band complete with… bongos!
And instead of the pared and sparse sound I was expecting, I was ambushed by a full frontal assault on my aural senses, combined with a lacerating light show, that took me by complete surprise.
Chief songsmith and vocalist Alexis Taylor may not be the most enigmatic of front men, looking as he does like a cross between Don Estelle and a startled Buggle, but that was no impediment to an audience eager to immerse itself in a pool of pulsating backbeats and the gentle ripple effect of Taylor’s falsetto.
I too was soon a helpless shipwreck carried along on meandering currents of sound; at once bubbling under only to be rescued by a poignant lyric that pulled me back to the surface before quickly again succumbing to a riotous riptide of rumbling bass lines and splashing high hats.
When I did get a chance to drag myself away from the madness of the danceflooor to document the new songs, those impacted were, in no particular order: Melody of Love – an atmospheric tour d’amour. Positive – synth pop at its positive best and Spell – lyrically and sonically mesmerising.
But the standout song of the evening was the decade old singalong Over and Over. And with over a decade in the business Hot Chip are most definitely still not out.