Confident and carefree, Jessica Anne Newham, better known as Betty Who, sashayed onto stage at 9:30 Club on Sunday for a sold-out performance that showcased her sex appeal and poise.
On her way into DC Saturday, Victoria Hesketh published a humorous tweet describing her guest list for her show at U Street Music Hall that night.
Victoria is better known as Little Boots, of course, and we applauded her reference to famous DC punk bands. In her musical evolution over three albums to date, Little Boots has gone from a bit of new wave-influenced dance-pop, which took a page from punk inspirations back in the day, to full-blown nu disco. And that journey led her to previous collaborations with UK new wave artists like Gary Numan and Phil Oakey of The Human League.
The synthpop diva has always leaned into house and disco, but she does so full tilt on her new album, Working Girl, which she brought on tour to DC Saturday night. In line with the title of the album, Little Boots has adopted a strategic marketing approach that sees her rocking out in power suits and sporting rather professional if comfortable office wear.
Early in her performance, Little Boots performed her latest single, “No Pressure,” which encapsulates all of the wonderful things about the new album and the new attitude. The song is about the possibility of a change and escaping your expectations, and its accompanying video cleverly stages the message in a workplace environment.
Hot Chip kept a very full room “ready for the floor” as they danced the night away at Echostage Friday night.
Touring in support of their sixth album, Why Make Sense?, released in May 2015, the London quintet also paid respects to their career so far, hitting highlights from their previous albums.
In doing so, Hot Chip sang a lot about being in love while adding soulful samba-like grooves to some of their greatest hits.
And so the crowd boogied down in earnest to tracks like “Night & Day,” “Over and Over” and “I Feel Better” throughout the show, as well as many of the noteworthy tunes on the new album.
The U.K. synthpoppers opened with “Huarache Lights,” a dance-funk ode to living on the go until eventually replaced by automation, the first single from their latest effort. They also showcased “Easy to Get” and “Started Right” from Why Make Sense? — the first a playful tribute to playing “easy to get” with someone you love and the second also a lovely song about being in love and in a committed relationship.
Last month, nu disco juggernauts Hot Chip released their sixth studio album, Why Make Sense?
After five good albums (several of which are outstanding), you might ask, “Where can Hot Chip go from here?” And Hot Chip apparently asked themselves that same question in the making of this album.
Part of the process of finding an answer for the band was to write and record “Huarache Lights,” a musical statement on what the band brings to the table. It’s a classic single for Hot Chip, pairing vocalist Alexis Taylor’s unique voice with pulsating rhythms and thematically addressing people and technology — but most importantly, doing so while being funky.
Watch the video for “Huarache Lights”:
In May, Hot Chip launched a world tour in support of the new album, and they bring the show to Echostage in DC this Friday, June 5.
I’ve been fortunate enough to catch Hot Chip several times in the past, and their live show is itself a regular dance party. They have a sound, and surely an accompanying light show, capable of filling the large space of Echostage quite well.
And I daresay that the sound and vision of the live performance tells the other half of the story when asking where do Hot Chip go from here? So it’s well worth your time to get out there, check them out and dance your heart out.
Watch a full Hot Chip set from the 2014 Pitchfork Music Festival in Paris:
Sudanese-American Ahmed Gallab brings his soul quartet Sinkane along to open for Hot Chip. Tickets are available online or at the box office at the 9:30 Club.