Having recently moved to Los Angeles, I'm pretty green when it comes to this LA music scene. I'm delving in head first by attending a sold out Hot Chip show at the Henry Fonda Theatre Music Box in Hollywood. I decide to take this adventure on my own. No distractions, no conversations; just focus...plus it's totally cool to dance by yourself. Haven't you heard?
Upon entering the venue, I'm not surprised by the overwhelming amount of ironically stylized LA hip kids. The lights go dark at 10:45 PM, right on time. I start off on the floor and realize I can't see anything. The idea of sweaty kids bumping into me as I write on my little notepad convinces me to move up to the balcony.
Hot Chip starts their set, but the curtain is still down, the lights are dim, no one can see anything. Oh, the anticipation! I find a seat in the balcony area, and a few seats down on my right; Danny Masterson is talking a blonde girl's ear off. Hollywood is fun.
10:53: Curtain up.
It's the beginning of their 12 or 13 song set. Pint-sized singer Alexis Taylor bursts out on the stage, looking like some special child in white tapered pajama pants. He's especially captivating, not only because of his giant, plastic glasses, but also his spazzy air humping.
The audience is eerily still. One time I was an extra in a balcony scene for this movie, and sitting all around me were blow up dolls with masks on. They looked like real people, but they didn't move. This is exactly how it felt in the balcony of this show. It was feeling less plastic by the third song, "Boy From School." The crowd started to get into it. About eight songs in, Hot Chip played some new songs from next year's release. Judging by these new tunes, next year's album should not disappoint.
Any song they played from The Warning snapped the cool, apathy right out of this audience. Finally after the eleventh song, they play my absolute favorite "The Warning." They took it to a different level, instead of its poetic morbidity that makes this song unsuspecting and hilarious, Hot Chip turned it into a beautiful, romantic and melodic piece. Awesome. "Over and Over" was their last song before the encore, and they now look like a band that has a crazy sold out audience. The guitarist went into the crowd to be groped, there was a crowd surfer, and mosh pit. It was as if I were at a Pearl Jam concert circa 1995. That was pretty much the only "rock show" moment of the night...that, and their partial Fleetwood Mac cover of "Everywhere" during the encore.
Hot Chip is respectable live in that there are no premixes or recordings, and they make great music. However, they aren't the most captivating when it comes to stage presence. I was pretty much staring at four nerds hunched over their drum machines, keyboards and mixers...and a guitarist. Although, I'm still pretty content with how this show panned out.
Now on to my next endeavor: Getting Danny Masterson to buy me a drink. Up, up and away!