Photographs by Sean Chin.
After the release of their first three albums Chromeo had quite a bit of momentum built up in Canada. They were headlining their own tours but still had a lot of indie street credibility. After a very long hiatus, some wondering if they would even release another album under the Chromeo name, Dave 1 and P-Thugg came back after four years off to continue the world’s best “Arab/Jewish partnership” with White Women and subsequently blew the doors off the global market. Even though the band hails from Montreal, Toronto has become as welcoming as their hometown to the duo.
With eardrum vibrating bass and flashes of strobe light thunder the band came out in epic fashion to the packed and ready to dance crowd at Kool Haus. The crowd chanting “Chrome-o-oooooo” like it goes on Intro on the Fancy Footwork. Even though it isn’t really a contentious topic of conversation Dave 1 asked the crowd if the city is still called ‘T-Dot’ or if it has been rebranded ‘The 6’. The crowd cheered for both but it seemed like ‘T-Dot’ is still our nickname for our music-loving city.
The stage set up said a lot of what their show would be like. There was a wall of mirrored screens set up behind the band and only white strobe/spot lights were used making everything look like a 1980’s music video. Dave 1 wore black skinny jeans and a black leather jacket with black shades to top it off. He played a mirrored guitar and used it to great effect. While playing Prince style with his guitar resting against his crotch he bounced the white lights off his guitar to shine onto specific crowd members as he tilted across the room.
The mostly late twenties crowd got what they expected, a night of solid gold hits from the first song to the last. They started out with earlier singles Night By Night, Hot Mess and Tenderoni with varying degrees of sing-alongs. The gaggle of club girls and flock of frat boys didn’t even care about mingling, the purpose of the show was the dance and sweat and love everyone. It was one giant sexy time party. It doesn’t hurt that Chromeo can drop the beat like the best party starters in the world. They took their 80’s infused funk-rock and added a huge dose of four on the floor bass lines that make it irresistible to take control of your body.
On their current single Over The Shoulder, Dave 1 encouraged all the ladies to get up on the shoulders of their men so they could get a better view of all the ladies. P-Thugg, wearing a Chromeo band tee and playing his voice box machine would encourage the crowd to scream while he warps and twists his voice into sex machine robot. During Jealous (I Ain’t With It), the party went from a 10 all the way to full on rave. The guys remarked on how this was the biggest show they have ever played in Toronto.
If you are familiar with 80’s music it is impossible not to hear all the inspirations that they have. From drum fills that sound like Phil Collins, cowbell like Bon Jovi, Peter Frampton-like vocal distortions, Prince RnB guitar licks and Steve Miller Band synth playing, Chromeo borrows it all. When they announced they were playing the last song of the night before the encore I was angry, how could they play such a short set before I looked at the time and realized I danced for a full hour without stopping and knew every song. While the guys were offstage once again the “Chrome-o-ooooo” chants started back up only several decibels louder this time. The encore ended with Don’t Turn The Lights On inducing the largest sing-along of the night. P-Thugg played bass and had some serious Queen like structures going on to add to the 80’s nostalgia trip. They got the crowd to two-step dance with them and the crowd swayed to the left and to the right in unison. Maybe Chromeo should be the people in charge of negotiating peace between Israel and Palestine, because they couldn’t do any worse then how its gone so far. Plus dancing could literally cause world peace if the crowd at Kool Haus was any indication. Ironically enough the first song played when the lights came up was Legs by ZZ Top, since the band’s famous set up includes sexy light up female legs as their keyboard stands. Were the 1980’s always this fun?