Saturday’s line-up at Bowery, juxtaposing Hot Chip, Grand National and The Presets, made for an epic night well worth the pre-show wait. Despite the hour delay, Aussies The Presets unveiled a slap of tribal disco pop involving a drummer and a mad knobtweaker who dumbfounded and astounded when Julian Hamilton unleashed his jungle yelp on “I Go Hard, I Go Home”. Both Hamilton and Kim Moyes (think Breakfast Club’s Judd Nelson) stirred calamity with the under currents of futuristic 80s funk, and embraced the miniature mullet hawk and muscle tee. Be on the lookout for these two.
Soon emerged London’s Grand National to showcase a rugged exterior that combined garage rock as infectiously catchy as it was experimental. “Drink To Moving On” rang with the tone of a mellow renegade, while “Litter Bin” laid low and steadily heavy. Halfway through the show, the lead swapped electric guitar for an acoustic and became involved with the crowd, rounding up crouchers for “Coming Round” for the prolonged end. Before long plenty of second-row peeps started the horizontal crouch wave as well. Later the vocalist broke out into “When Doves Cry”, which though random, was a positively interesting rendition of Prince.
As set-up began for Hot Chip, I noticed that a girl next to me at the stage was texting her friend saying “Dude guess who’s standing next to me? Mr. LCD himself!!!!!” I turned to my right and there he was – James Murphy, who eventually took a seat backstage behind the group. Despite tech difficulties, Hot Chip covered “Crap Kraft Dinner” and “Over and Over” from the new remix EP using baby-blue maracas and star-shaped tambourine to keep things fresh. With electronic shows, performers may have a steeper grain to surpass without the mobility of being able to flash a guitar onstage, but the group maintained the bit per beat with its solid vocals and synchronous instrumentation. “Down With Prince” was one of the hottest numbers with every swagger-ish pulse. Immediately after the last song the band had to end the night due to bug and tech probs with an apologetic, “Sorry for the problems.” Bummer in the case of too many chords. Though it was my first time to catch a glimpse of Hot Chip in all their stellar stardom, it definitely won’t be my last.