Terminal 5 had an extraterrestrial feel on July 20th. In the packed, dimly lit venue, four blue strobe lights hovering over the heads of hipster 20-somethings began to flicker in a blinding manner.
UK electronic pop masters Hot Chip took the stage and pumped trumpet synth notes over a heavy kick drum for the lofty “Motion Sickness,” the opening track to their 2012 album, “In Our Heads.”
The quintet was joined by drummer Jim Orso -- of local New York band Holy Ghost! -- and multi-instrumentalist Rob Smoughton. That let the guys sprinkle additional elements into a reworked version of their 2006 number, “And I Was a Boy From School.”
A rubbery bass line, a snappy drum machine, keys layered upon keys and lead singer Alexis Taylor crooning in thin-frame glasses and oversize clothes -- all of it brought this jam from a crawl to full frenzy.
They returned to their latest album for “Don’t Deny Your Heart.” As the tune unfolded, guitarist Al Doyle moved over to percussion while Taylor and Owen Clarke picked up guitars for a Talking Heads-style jam.
After a tropical take on “One Life Stand,” the band offered an electronic-heavy “Night & Day” with Joel Goddard’s pulsating keys and Doyle’s thumping bass. Taylor teetered at the edge of the stage as he jokingly rapped. It was loose and funky.
With the retirement of LCD Soundsystem -- where Doyle spent the past several years -- Hot Chip has become one of indie music’s best live electronic acts.
Taylor doffed his baggy jacket to fire up the crowd during “Flutes.” Synths swelled for a number that would serve a long-distance runner well. Instead we got Doyle and Taylor at center stage doing a little dance routine.
The guys returned to their sophomore album for the standout “Over and Over.” A guitar groove was matched by some wobbly bass and pulsating piano notes that had the floor popping like a trampoline.
For the encore, the band brought on Lizzie Bougatsos from Gang Gang Dance -- who opened Hot Chip’s Brooklyn show two nights earlier -- for the calming “Always Been Your Love.” Taylor and Bougatsos sang easily on this ’80s number. The pause that followed was broken by a robotic voice singing the opening lines of “Ready for the Floor.”
The crowd moved as one big happy sea and then offered a collective “ahhh” as the band flowed seamlessly into a cover of Fleetwood Mac’s “Everywhere.”
The night came to an end on the anthemic “Let Me Be Him.” We trickled out to the street with sweaty clothes and smiling faces.
Hot Chip will tour Europe before returning to the U.S. in September for a string of West Coast dates. They will also be back in December as part of this year’s inaugural S.S. Coachella Music Festival at Sea.
Here’s a selection of New York-area shows in August. Please note that opening bands aren’t always listed. Shows marked (SO) are sold out, although online services such as Craigslist often have tickets:
Aug. 1 Mumford & Sons/Dawes at Pier A (SO) Aug. 2 The xx/Jacques Greene at Terminal 5 Aug. 3 Zeus/ARMS at Mercury Lounge Aug. 4 Amadou & Mariam/Theophilus London/Just a Band at Central Park SummerStage (Free) Aug. 5 Mad Decent Block Parties at Williamsburg Park (Free) Aug. 6 Lucinda Williams at Bowery Ballroom Aug. 7 M. Ward/Yo La Tengo at Prospect Park Bandshell Aug. 8 M83/Big Black Delta at Central Park SummerStage (SO) Aug. 9 Wild Nothing/Grimes at Pier 84 (Free) Aug. 10 Little Dragon/Frankie Rose at Prospect Park Bandshell Aug. 11 Real Estate/R. Stevie Moore at Webster Hall Aug. 12 Eternal Summers at Fulton Stall Market (Free) Aug. 13 The Very Best at Irving Plaza Aug. 14 White Denim at Brooklyn Bowl Aug. 15 Sonny and the Sunsets/Magic Trick at Maxwell’s Aug. 16 Screaming Females/Hunters/Heliotropes at 92YTribeca Aug. 17 mewithoutYou at Bowery Ballroom Aug. 18 Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings/Antibalas Afrobeat Orchestra at Williamsburg Park (Free) Aug. 19 My Morning Jacket/Shabazz Palaces at Williamsburg Park Aug. 20 Nu Sensae/Pyschic Blood at Death By Audio Aug. 21 Ape School/Heaven/Arc in Round at Glasslands Gallery Aug. 22 Sebodah/Sentridoh at Bowery Ballroom Aug. 23 Teengirl Fantasy/Lemonade/Gatekeeper at Rocks Off Cruise Aboard the Harbor Lights Aug. 24 Puro Instinct/Outer Limitz/Splash at Glasslands Gallery Aug. 25 Afro-punk Festival at Commodore Barry Park (Free) The Brian Jonestown Massacre/Magic Castles at Webster Hall Aug. 26 Afro-Punk Festival at Commodore Barry Park (Free) Peter Murphy/Crystal Stilts/Small Black at The Well Aug. 28 Telepathe/Blonds at The Rock Shop Aug. 29 Beirut at Central Park Summerstage (SO) Aug. 30 The Vaselines at Bell House Aug. 31 Metz at Pianos
(Jaime Widder works in sales for Bloomberg News. Any opinions expressed are his own.)