Hot Chip + Max Tundra @ Birmingham Academy – 29th October 2008


Max Tundra opened tonight’s electronic pop music feast with a one-man rave of delightful computerised layers and a live synth performance. It became obvious very soon that Ben Jacobs (alias Max Tundra) embraces and loves the fun side of music as he flapped his arms round in a manic eccentric dance. It definitely got people’s attention as chuckles could be heard from around the bustling Academy.


He is definitely entertaining to watch with a great stage presence, which is quite a skill for one man to captivate so many people’s attention. The music is complex and intricate and playing the electric guitar as well shows him to be a great multi-talented musician. Unfortunately his decent melodic vocals were a little weak and overpowered by the music. He also used humour by telling the crowd to “sing along if you know the words” before descending into an instrumental. He also used the time to plug his new album ‘Parallax Error Beheads You’ as being a great Christmas present. Max Tundra ended the set with his own electronic version of The Sound of Music’s ‘So Long Farewell’. It was a very entertaining performance that got a few feet tapping and heads bobbing and everyone was now ready for the headliners.


Keyboard chords played as we all waited excitedly, then cheers echoed around the almost full Academy as the men from Hot Chip took their place on the main stage. They opened with ‘One Pure Thought’ off their latest album ‘Made in the Dark’ and proceeded to play several tracks from this album to take up half of their set. They show various musical talents throughout the show with outstanding percussion to start off ‘Shake a Fist’ and pounding guitar riffs in ‘Out at the Pictures’. Hot Chip don’t strictly stick to their recorded tracks, instead they are experimental but do not make any unrecognisable. Instead what they offer in their live shows is a more dynamic, louder sound that I thoroughly enjoyed as it enhanced the sounds they create in the studio. The bass and beats become more prominent in their live shows, but the balance with the electronic programming is not compromised. What they created was a great party atmosphere that got the crowd jumping, dancing, singing and cheering throughout.


What Hot Chip also creates is that dance/rave atmosphere with strobe lighting that stays in time with the music. At one point the lighting flashed so quickly that the whole stage became a wall of white and each band member transformed into a silhouette. There is great professionalism with this band but that doesn’t stop them from having fun on stage. They’ve got bags of energy and their charm is endearing. Each member is introduced to the audience showing the value that they place on each individual. The adorable soft vocals of Alexis Taylor is contrasted but delightfully complimented by Joe Goddard’s deep velvety tones.


Hot Chip put on a very varied and energetic set with danceable tunes that were broken up by slower ballads like ‘Wrestlers’ and ‘Touch too Much’. The tempo of the beat raised again as ‘Over and Over’ began and the crowd showed their enjoyment by dancing passionately. One band member commented afterwards by saying ‘that’s a good one isn’t it?’ Another crowd favourite ‘Ready for the Floor’ introduced giant balloons bouncing over the crowd and people danced contently to every part of this funky pop track. As the band left the stage no one wanted to leave and the balloons carried on being pushed around until the band came back on stage and burst them one by one. The booing that came from the audience prompted the comment that maybe they should bring more balloons next time and forget the music. But the music is what they do best and their outstanding musical abilities continued with their four-song encore of ‘Playboy’, ‘My Piano’, ‘No Fit State’ and finally ‘Privacy!’ that begun with Alexis and the crowd singing Sinead O’Connor’s ‘Nothing Compares to you’. I personally found the encore to be a bit flat after the energy of ‘Ready for the Floor’. Overall though Hot Chip brought over an hour of fun electro pop that was entertaining, professional and quite adorable.



1. One Pure Thought
2. Bendable Poseable
3. Shake a Fist
4. Boy From School
5. Hold On
6. Touch Too Much
7. Over and Over
8. Alleycats
9. Out at the Pictures
10. Wrestlers
11. Ready for the Floor
12. Playboy
13. My Piano
14. No Fit State
15. Privacy!

Review – Karen Trenbirth
Photos – Michelle Ballard

About Author

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *