After a short drive up the M5 we find ourselves doing laps of Birmingham looking for a carpark close to the Carling Academy. We park in possibly the darkest/dodgiest carpark in all of the Midlands, but no time to waste - we are here to see Hot Chip.
Inside the venue, most of the large crowd are standing around the bar swilling hideous lager while chatting. Everything changes the when Max Tundra, a balding middle aged man dressed in a neckerchief and sports coat over white flannel pyjamas, walks on to the stage.
For close to 45 minutes Max Tundra is unstoppable, seemingly playing two, three, four songs at once while dancing manically and switching between toy instruments quicker than you can say “My First Xylophone”. It is totally insane, information overload, unlistenable but impossible not to love. Set highlights were Will Get Fooled Again, a tale of internet love and myspace etiquette, and closing song So Long, Farewell, Auf Wiedersen, Goodbye - yes, from the sound of music – Max Tundra was brilliant. Need more evidence of his insanity? How about a 700 word essay on leggings.
Headliners Hot Chip attract a diverse crowd but nu-rave, indie, dance, rock, and pop fans rise as one when they hear the slinky riff of set opener One Pure Thought, and the cheering doesn’t let up for a second as the band rush though Made In The Dark album tracks: Out At the Pictures, Bendable Poseable, Shake A Fist and Touch Too Much.
Over and Over proves to be just as nuts live as it is every week at your favourite indie nightclub, while new track Alley Cats is a different kind of repetitive, drilling its way into your head as you sway along. If this is where the new Hot Chip album is going, I very much look forward to its 2009 release.
The band’s current single Wrestlers is a guilty pleasure, but the cheesy R’n’B beat, the call response rap and the lame sexual innuendo is even more adorable when you can see that it is being sung by the nerdiest band on earth.
Finally, they play Made in the Dark highlight Four To The Floor as giant white balloons start spilling from the ceiling. The balloons are a great touch and serve as the perfect distraction while waiting for the inevitable encore.
Returning to the stage, the band burst the last of the balloons before playing My Piano and No Fit State. The set finishes proper with a swaying live version of Nothing Compares 2 U/In the Privacy of Our Love. The nu-ravers, indie kids, pop lovers, rockers and dance fiends all filter out, unanimous in their praise for the band.
Before heading off to see if the car is still in once piece, I get chatting with bass synth player Joe Goddard. All really I want to ask is “how did Hot Chip come to book Max Tundra?” But I already know the answer: “how could they not?!”