Kerry Meech 27/08/2006
Whilst the majority of the punters were busily cramming themselves in front of the main stage to see ageing rockers Pearl Jam, or attempting the impossible - getting within 100ft of the tent The Kooks were performing in, a knowing few (hundred) were getting excited at the prospect of a good old fashioned shindig courtesy of Hot Chip. Recently the band has enjoyed a brief, yet much deserved, guest appearance in the spotlight due to their Mercury-nominated album 'The Warning', an album which gushes with intelligent, emotive pop songs and which signals a bold leap from the sparseness of their 2004 debut 'Coming On Strong'.
After having previously witnessed the manic, cowbell grand finale of Larrikin Love's crowd-pleasing set, it was evident that the standard had been set incredibly high for the final evening in the Carling Tent - cue the age-long battle between cowbell and synthesizer.
Taking to the stage looking like five nervous kids embarking on their first day at school, Hot Chip didn't exactly look promising, in fact when the audience began chanting 'Turn It Up!!!' the ambiguity of the chant, twinned with the way it was unmercifully unleashed upon the band, made you wonder when the riot was about to ensue. Thankfully everyone was feeling nothing but love for the band. Perhaps sensing that the audience were ready to be battered to a bloody pulp and left for dead, Hot Chip delivered blow after blow, beginning with their second single 'A Boy From School'. As soon as the opening synthesizer rift seeped from the stage it effortlessly transformed the masses into a tremendous euphoric swell of raised arms and grinning, sweaty faces. Similarly, 'Careful' and 'No Fit State' managed to produce the same intense reaction, especially during the vocal break in 'No Fit State' which includes the telling lyric, “I'm in no fit state…to make the record of my life”…I think you already have, mate.
The band's sense of melody and witty lyrical observation (“Don't you ever wonder how the hell does Stevie Wonder see things?” on 'Keep Fallin'') has granted them their originality, whilst their use of Kraftwerk-influenced electronica has proved their unwillingness to compromise. This combination has proved to be a winning formula for Hot Chip, and was best showcased in their final song of the night 'Over And Over', which succeeded in worrying the security nearest the stage barrier. The only let down of the whole set was lead singer Alexis Taylor's unwillingness to crack a smile...but then again perhaps it would have ruined the atmosphere if he'd sung the line “Over and over, like a monkey with a miniature cymbal” with a cheesy grin across his face?