Preview: Hot Chip at the 9:30 Club

The eclectic English band Hot Chip bring their synth-pop and alternative dance sound to the 9:30 Club on Wednesday April 10th. Photo: Hot Chip

WASHINGTON, April 9, 2013 —Consistency is something a lot of bands strive for. Not just a consistency of sound but the kind of consistency in skill, performance and productivity that puts a band on the lap to the point where it never disappears from consciousness. Achieving this kind of consistency helps a band to be self sustaining, leading to a place were expectations can turn into reality with relative ease.  Since beginning in 2000, this is the kind of consistent group Hot Chip has become. Their upcoming show at the 9:30 Club on Wednesday, April 10, will likely prove another example of how the band has been able to build on its achievements over the years.

These London, UK residents have been essentially the same group since 2000, performing with the same five members since their inception. The kind of stability is increasingly rare and is today almost unique in the music scene. No musical genre is devoid of turmoil or line-up shake ups, but it’s the odd and exceptional band that is able to keep its core together. Hot Chip has actually kept its membership roster intact for well over a decade. It’s that kind of stability that’s become something of a calling card for this band.

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Despite sticking together for so long, Hot Chip has never become stagnant. A major reason for this lies in the collective mentality the band exhibits. Alexis Taylor, Joe Goddard, Owen Clarke, Al Doyle, and Felix Martin are the core of the band. But on every production is mixture of musicians lending their talents. This helps give each Hot Chip outing or recording a slightly different feel.

Another thing that keeps Hot Chip relatively fresh on each successive album is the members’ collective refusal to stand in one place rather than evolve or develop new interests. The band, in fact, has a considerable number of side projects going on outside of Hot Chip. These projects are spinning around the group’s main function as a band. But each successive endeavor outside of Hot Chip brings a different kind of energy to the band. This process gives the group that much more motivation to produce and then consistently put out an album every two years since their first album Coming on Strong in 2004.

This creativity and energy, found in everything the members of Hot Chip are involved in, takes on a different aspect when the band performs live. Their live shows have always had an air spontaneity to them and that has only increased over the years. They have always had a subdued electro pop current to their sound, but they’ve progressively evolving more towards alternative dance. In addition, on their 2012 release In Our Heads, a strong R&B influence has become more apparent.

While these elements have always been incorporated to some extent in Hot Chip’s sound, what started out as a slight influence has become a more prominent part of the band’s sound over time.  The hope is to create an atmosphere that is more engaging and intimate for the audience. An environment where everyone in the crowd can move along to the constant changes in Hot Chip’s performance.

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It is these kind of evolutionary surprises that fans of the band have come to expect. It is what people seeing Hot Chip for the first time at the 9:30 Club April 10th can expect as well.

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Stephen Bradley

Stephen Bradley is an avid music listener and an occasional writer.  He grew up in the Washington DC area and has been embedded in the local music scene for years.  Currently he lives in Vienna, VA.   He enjoys bands that have been broken up for at least a decade.

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