Where were you when you first heard the call of Chromeo?
Me? I was sitting on a porch, looking out over the lake at the summer camp I was counselor for. It was about 7:30 in the morning – Wake-up time. And that meant time for music. We turned our set of massive, 2’ x 3’ speakers towards the cabins, someone plugged in their iPod Classic, and through those incredibly old speakers rung… a police siren? My momentary confusion was broken when in dropped some keys playing the first notes of “Fancy Footwork”. I was instantly hooked. For the rest of the summer, I rallied whenever possible to get that song on. It was an instant classic, and, soon after, so was the rest of their sophomore album for me.
And yet, despite that being over 10 years ago, I’ve still never been able to make it to a Chromeo show. Things always came up. But when I heard they were making a stop in Toronto for not one but TWO nights – and that they were swinging by with indie producer Pomo – I knew I had to be there.
Pomo opened the show with his spaced out grooves. Accompanied by guitarist Danny McKinnon, he took the crowd on a fantastical journey through remixes of everything from Hall & Oates to Rhianna to Anderson Paak. His sound definitely followed the theme of the evening – you can practically hear the chrome decorating his music. The beats Pomo spins take you on a trip through time and space: like a little spaceship zooming through the cosmos, the production is an exciting adventure into the unknown.
Behind Pomo was a massive set draped in heavy cloth, clearly hiding a substantial mystery. After the opening set was done, cloths were slowly pulled away to reveal two massive chrome staircases leading up to a chrome platform. Flanking the platform were chrome speaker systems behind chrome keyboards. Even before the lights came on, the set was blindingly shiny. But man, when those strobes started… It was everything I imagined it would be: flashy, excessive, and incredibly funky.
Dave-1 is one of the most charismatic entertainers in the business. His demeanor exudes boyish charm, and his lyrics tell stories of all manner of dramatic and weird stories of love and relationships. “Momma’s Boy” tells a rather freudian tale of two folks falling in love that can’t help but notice similarities between their parent and lover, while “Bedroom Calling” tells a more classic tale of a casual relationship turned addiction to someone that doesn’t reciprocate the feelings. Together, the lyrics and the set mixed to form a cocktail both celebrating and parodying the occasional absurdity of our human behaviour when it comes to relationships and love. The strong funk overtones only serve to lay the foundation deeper.
The boys put on an outstanding set. They played everything I could ask for and more. At one point, during “Night by Night”, Dave 1 even busted out a chrome guitar for a solo. The lights dimmed, he took center stage, and a lone spotlight shone against the guitar, reflecting onto the crowd, as he peeled off a few sweet licks. It was a simple but extremely effective set piece. They also played a number of tracks from their new album which, if you haven’t heard it, comes as a strong recommend from me – it’s front-to-back everything I love about Chromeo and then some. Check it out if you get a chance – a stop by a concert too, you won’t be disappointed.