Rowdy for a Tuesday: Hot Chip at First Avenue

Photo by Ben Allen

Last updated on June 6th, 2023 at 03:31 pm

Hot Chip, one of the most approachable bands I’ve seen, played to the delight of a packed First Avenue crowd last night. At one point, the band remarked that the crowd was “surprisingly rowdy for a Tuesday!”

While it may have come with a pretty big qualifier, I will still take the compliment.

Photo by Ben Allen

Hot Chip cannot be summarized in a single word or genre. To describe their music, you’ll need to use intersections. They are what happens when pop and dance music collaborate. Or when a sad song finds its home in a packed nightclub. Maybe it’s less of an intersection, more of a roundabout.

Given their regular appearances in the Twin Cities, it’s clear the band has a lot of love for us. Local radio support from The Current, Radio K, and other bygone stations have helped keep the fan fires stoked over the past 23 years of the band’s existence.

Photo by Ben Allen

They like us so much that after their previous appearance in Minneapolis, they stuck around to play a DJ set reminiscent of First Avenue Danceteria nights back in the day.

This time, they’re touring behind their eighth studio album, Freakout/Release, released last August on Domino Records. It’s been over twenty years, but they don’t sound watered down or beyond their scope. They sound as vital as ever, building on their incredible back catalog of albums and music videos.

Photo by Ben Allen

One of the great things about Hot Chip is that they look like regular dudes. Sometimes they may come out in matching outfits, but there’s nothing flashy or egotistical, just six guys playing music together.

Their setlist featured a well-rounded mix of their older songs with new material peppered in along the way. With established bands, there is this delicate balance between giving the crowd the desired classics and allowing the artists to share newer work with pride.

Photo by Ben Allen

And proud they should be. Twenty-three years is a long time to dedicate to a single project. It’s a great lesson about staying true to your message and the people who support you.

Written by Ben Allen

I tell the story of the energy transfer between people who play music and that music's listeners. I photograph and write about festivals and concerts, which I've attended for three decades. I'm also the tall guy you probably got stuck behind at a show. First concert: Nirvana at Roy Wilkins Auditorium, Dec 1993. Yes, I am old. Tall and old.


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