Live Review: Hot Chip, Empress Of, Touch Sensitive

30 January 2016 | 11:29 am | Roshan Clerke

"...when Hot Chip’s opening music begins to play the excitement in the room rises to an unprecedented high on this surprisingly happening Wednesday night."

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Melbourne artist Michael Di Francesco has well and truly carved out his own niche for himself as Touch Sensitive away from Van She, but for the sake of brevity we’ll simply describe him as the moustached guy who occasionally also plays bass in that band.

Di Francesco is equipped with his usual set up, practising his lightning fast routine of switching between playing his bass guitar and triggering loops on his laptop. He includes some of his original music in his setlist, dropping the driving Body Stop, as well as material from his remix portfolio, squeezing in a few minutes of his funkified take on fellow Australian Hayden James’ Permission To Love. There’s a steady ebb and flow to his performance, as he flutters lightly over the frets on an unreleased track before indulging in some nasty slap bass on his final song, the Kavinsky-inspired Pizza Guy

New York-based singer-songwriter Lorely Rodriguez is next to the stage, touring Australia for the first time since the release of her debut Empress Of record. She’s joined by her synth player and percussionist, rapidly turning heads with their opener Realize You. “Have you been you with you lately? 'Cause you haven’t been you with me,” she sings while dancing around the stage. With all the confidence of a seemingly natural performer, she stretches into some serious diva notes on Standard, recalling a young Mariah Carey. Everything Is You and Need Myself are sentimental ballads beamed straight from the heavens, letting the audience breathe before a brilliant finishing sequence of Make Up, How Do You Do It, and Kitty Kat.

It would be easy to pre-emptively consider her performance the highlight of the night at this point, but when Hot Chip’s opening music begins to play the excitement in the room rises to an unprecedented high on this surprisingly happening Wednesday night. Blue stage lights silently introduce each band member’s equipment before the seven-piece take to the stage. “Replace us with the things that do the job better,” the Londoners sing, as frontman Alexis Taylor struts around the stage in stylish form. It’s straight into the thick of things from here, as the band launch into One Life Stand, Night & Day, and Love Is The Future, including a quick interpolation of Prince’s Irresistible Bitch. Flutes and Over And Over put the joy of repetition in us, before Joe Goddard melts hearts during Easy To Get. Taylor squeezes in The Purple One’s Forever In My Life before Started Right, Need You Now, Ready For The Floor, and the titanic I Feel Better bring part one of the set to a close. Returning for an encore, they treat us to a ballad with Look At Where We Are, while Al Doyle gently rings some steel drums. Boy From School and Let Me Be Him keep the melancholy feelings strong, before the band fly into their euphoric cover medley of Springsteen’s Dancing In The Dark and LCD Soundsystem’s All My Friends, which in light of the recent news of their revival, is all the celebratory finish anyone could wish for.

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