It's surprising that Hot Chip isn't more popular in Colorado. Priming the stage for LCD Soundsystem last night at the Fillmore, the U.K. band's music is definitely electronic at its base, but layers of guitar and living drumming lean heavily on jammy movements. "Colors," "Over and Over" and newer songs like "We Have Love" filled the venue's massive space with Hot Chip's complex harmonies, as Alexis Taylor's subtle coo led his bandmates' voices, synthesizers, maracas and noodling guitars through an almost seamless set.
The crowd was still slowly filing in midway through Hot Chip's set, moving with a subdued rhythm to songs that seemed to have required more dancing. But the band kept on, operating like its own little five-piece factory working away at each song, heads bobbing and feet tapping as the warm, repetitive tones of "Hold On" and "I Feel Better" built a platform for the grand finale, "Ready for the Floor."
Hot Chip scurried off, replaced by a gathering of stage and production people, scratching their heads and directing pieces of musical equipment that filled the space with a mosaic of drum risers, cords and mike stands. Less than thirty minutes later, "Dance Yrself Clean" introduced mastermind James Murphy to the crowd, the song's slow tapping leading the rest of the band on stage before an explosion of light and percussion brought the performance to life.
Murphy cradled the microphone in his hand, pushing through "Drunk Girls" before introducing his live collaborators, including Hot Chip multi-instrumentalist Al Doyle, who was pulling double duty. Carefully engineering the connection to his audience, Murphy and his band set "Get Innocuous" and "Yr City's a Sucker" in place before barreling into eminent crowd-pleaser "Daft Punk Is Playing at My House."
The self-assured conductor threw himself about, sputtering out "I Can Change," to an audience now fully immersed in the pounding of sound and strobe, following with "All My Friends" and coming through with a pushy beat that added another dimension to the electronic meditation. Murphy's blunt observations and introspection are what make his lyrics so great, and tracks like "You Wanted a Hit" and "Tribulations" burst from his red face, igniting the energy of the large room.
The beat and repetition of the minimal melodies in "Movement" and "Yeah" melted into one deafening finish, with green lights, smoke and strobes rising up as the bass permeated the air. Murphy and his band disappeared momentarily, providing no real silence between the set's ending and the encore. Instead, the residual pulsations bled into "Someone Great," bringing just Murphy and drummer Pat Mahoney back to the stage, followed by "Losing My Edge" and a trickling of the remaining five members back front and center.
Closing with "Home," Murphy bowed to his audience and pointed in acknowledgement at his band before vanishing into a blaze of stage lights, bringing an end to LCD Soundsystem's flawless performance.
Click through for Critic's Notebook and Setlist
CRITIC'S NOTEBOOK Personal Bias: I came more to see Hot Chip, but was blown away by James Murphy's casual but forceful stage presence and calculated live show execution. Random detail: The gentleman next to me said Murphy has played the same set in the four times he had seen LCD in the last year. Comparing my notes to the band's recent show at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles revealed this to be true, with (if I'm correct) the only addition being "Yr City's a Sucker." By The Way: At fifty bucks a ticket, I didn't see this show selling out -- but the place was plenty packed, and after seeing LCD live, I get it.
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LCD Soundsystem 10.20.10 | Fillmore Auditorium Denver, CO
Dance Yrself Clean Drunk Girls Get Innocuous! Yr City's a Sucker Daft Punk Is Playing at My House I Can Change All My Friends You Wanted a Hit Tribulations Movement Yeah
Someone Great Losing My Edge Home