Pitchfork Music Festival 2012, live review | Hot Chip
The stereotype of the Pitchfork festivalgoer is that of a chin-scratching or head-bobbing hipster incapable of dancing. Look, it's not that the fans can't dance; it's that the acts at this thing rarely give them a reason to.
As Hot Chip broke into its breakthrough hit "Over and Over," about 40 percent of the way through its set, I looked back from my position stage right to see nothing but people dancing. Not moshing, not bouncing. Full-on boogying. In all my years going to this event (every year but one), I've never seen that happen. Girls were stomping in the mud. Boys were pulling their shirts over their heads and doing the…I don't know what to call the dance. It was a bit like being at the prom in a swamp. And I'm having a hard time thinking of a set I've enjoyed more on this baseball diamond.
In their Hawaiian shirts and blazers and gold chains and purple Members Only jackets, with their steel drums and professional in-ear monitors, the Brits in Hot Chip are ready for the seas. So what if they look as if they should be playing the lido deck? I want to go on the Hot Chip cruise. And cruises seem like pure hell to me.
On records, Hot Chip noises can sound as if they're made by Fisher Price and Nintendo. The quirkiness and cuteness of the studio work is largely absent in this setting. With two percussionists (including a new drummer, Sarah Jones), the septet is a heavy, insistent, syncopated, candy-coated kraut-house force. (The gulf between the recordings and the stage show is as stunningly wide as it is with Caribou.) Like good DJs, the Londoners don't let a second of dead air between their songs. A little bit of Fleetwood Mac's "Everywhere" comes wedged between the penultimate song and the closing "Hold On." The material, largely pulled from In Our Heads and One Life Stand, sounded more brilliant than I remembered. That's always the thing with Hot Chip.
Little dweeby loverboy frontman Alexis Taylor dreams of being in Jodeci. Nobody tell him he's more awesome when whipping up noise on a electric guitar during the climax. The disconnect between his wanna-be Fugazi moment and his gold-rimmed sunglasses and Chanel shirt is too delicious. The last thing anyone needs at a concert on an unshaded field in the middle of July is someone repeatedly suggesting, "Let's sweat," as Taylor does on "Night and Day." The one thing we need more of at a dirty, muggy, exhausting underground music festival is energy and sexy.
I hardly miss "Boy from School." Well, okay, I miss it a little bit.