Chromeo @ Key Club, January 22, 2009
Chrome-ee-oh… ohhh… oh.
They won’t let you forget their slick, shiny name. Nearly all of Chromeo’s songs have a shoutout to the band’s moniker — and their stage set sports a giant pink neon sign that reads “Chromeo Two Step.” The Montreal duo’s signature keyboard stands are pairs of lighted mannequin legs that look like the leg lamp from A Christmas Story.
Chromeo performed to a sold-out LA crowd at Key Club on Thursday, January 22, their last show before they disappear into the studio to record the much-awaited follow-up to 2007’s Fancy Footwork. There was not much room for footwork of any kind on Thursday though, as the club was completely packed shoulder to shoulder.
Are they a band? There are just two of them. Dave 1 is the slim guy in skinny jeans, skinny tie, and black cardigan. The larger of the pair, P-Thugg looks like Freeway with less pigment. He was in a red Phillies’ hat and a two-piece African print outfit. They passed a bass back and forth and shared a solo on cowbells and cymbals during “Tenderoni.” Dave 1 primarily sticks to his guitar and microphone, while P-Thugg stations himself at his synthesizers and talk box. The drums and beats presumably come out of an Apple laptop and sequencers.
But they are definitely a band. They are an Adrien Brody-esque hipster (Dave 1) and a big hip-hop teddy bear (P-Thugg) that are essentially Roger and Zapp mixed with Hall and Oates, but totally modern. (The Hall and Oates parallel is one they like to perpetuate, and the duo even appeared on Daryl Hall’s web reality show Live From Daryl’s House.)
Their signature funk grooves permeated the packed house. The whole set was designed to please the crowd and it didn’t fail. They announced they were going to play “everything” off Fancy Footwork. They got the whole crowd involved in singalongs of other familiar but Chromeo-ized tunes. P-Thugg looked like he was hitting a vaporizer as he sang “Ain’t No Fun (If the Homies Can’t Have None)” through a talkbox. Later, Dave 1 broke into the guitar riff from Dire Strait’s “Money for Nothing.” Instead of the ethereal Sting verse “I want my MTV,” they reprised “I want my… I want my… I want my Chromeo.” I guess it rhymes with self-promeo, but no one seemed to mind.
Since the lower level of Key Club was such a sardine can, we watched the show from the top balcony. This gave us a view of the less populated middle balcony, which seemed to have been reserved for people who had enjoyed some dinner before the show and other VIPs. One older guy — wearing a tour t-shirt of which the top two artists listed on the back were Neil Young and James Taylor – caught every groove and even did spin moves, in his eyeglasses and fluffy grey curls, to songs like “100%” and “Bonafide Lovin’.”
I’ll give you bonafied lovin’
The type that makes me feel old.
Equal opportunity electronic music.
Like the Sopranos, the performance couldn’t end without Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’.”
The night went on and on and on and onnnn….
Next door to the Roxy, for an after party where they would play a DJ set.
Watch Chromeo at Daryl’s House here. – ed