Concert review: Hot Chip at the 9:30 club

RIGHT MOVES: Alexis Taylor and pals offer a wild blend of dance and pop.
RIGHT MOVES: Alexis Taylor and pals offer a wild blend of dance and pop. (Kyle Gustafson For The Washington Post)
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Monday, April 26, 2010

Hot Chip could be the MacGyver of electropop. Give them a maraca, a rubber band and a Swiss army knife, and the group will give you a dance-floor hit. Saturday night at the 9:30 club, the U.K. band came strapped with an arsenal of instruments from every musical tradition, but used each one with such versatility that it seemed just a matter of minutes before frontman Alexis Taylor would pick up one of the glowsticks bouncing around the club and play it like a penny whistle.

But about those glowsticks -- Hot Chip is not just a dance group, and this was not just a dance party. The London-based quintet is one of the rare groups that make synthesizer-heavy pop music with a shelf life.

That could be the reason the capacity crowd jumped along to Hot Chip's 2006 singles ("Over and Over," "Boy From School") as enthusiastically as its latest ones (the chunky, disco-laced "One Life Stand" and "I Feel Better"). It didn't hurt that the band -- known for its remixes almost as much as its originals -- freshened up older material with tasteful tempo alterations and acoustic arrangements that enhanced each song like a well-tailored suit.

Almost every Hot Chip member did quadruple duty on a range of instruments from synthesizers to timbales, but the band especially relished playing the audience. Taylor leapt on top of a subwoofer cabinet to lead the blissful crowd in a juiced-up version of "We Have Love," then made for a surprising sex symbol as fans in the front row pawed at his yellow jeans. But there's no need for them to latch on -- these songs will be kicking around for a long time.

-- Ally Schweitzer


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