Chromeo - Central Park SummerStage - 9/12/14
All photos Sachyn Mital
Better Than: That very drunk slice of Buffalo chicken pizza you had last night.
Chromeo has crept into our consciousness more and more over the past few years. In 2007 the group released Fancy Footwork, their second studio album but their first one-two punch to our conception of what an alternative, electro-funk duo should and could be. Since then, their disco-driven sound has been enlivening festivals like the Electric Daisy Carnival, Coachella, and Lollapalooza. Earlier in 2014, Dave 1 and P-Thugg released their most recent album, White Women, and the result has been twofold: They've created yet another album rich with daring musicality and lyrics, all while informally officiating their completely singular, and completely sexy, sound.
Friday night, the two took their sweet time readying themselves for the stage, the long wait beginning with opener Big Freedia performing for quite a long while, his booming, chaotic New Orleans bounce in full twerk mode, which primed the crowd for Chromeo effectively (if for a bit too long -- the repetition of bounce has a tendency to get a bit stale after a while).
It was a long wait for Chromeo, but after an agonizing 30 minutes, white lights poured out from the stage in every direction, and with seemingly no transitional moment at all, Dave 1's guitar wailed from between the LEDs. Without warning, the concert was in full swing.
Dave 1 and P-Thugg are, if you'll excuse the phrase, groove-machines. DJ set or fully live, the two produce a sound that bounces across the stage, through the crowd, and right back to them again, forever fueling a cycle of funky, self-sustaining energy.
The entire performance was a prime example of just how versatile Chromeo can be -- there were moments of utter electronic ecstasy, with deep, pulsating electro beats; there were moments of pure instrumental funk and experimentation. Every melody, every lyric -- all featured that same emblematic grooviness that Chromeo has embodied since the beginning.
The duo played all the fan favorites, the first being "Night by Night," followed quickly by "Hot Mess," a track that originally featured La Roux but honestly sounded better with just Dave 1 and P-Thugg. Next came "Fancy Footwork," soon followed by almost every big hit, from "Bonafide Lovin' " to "Sexy Socialite." The crowd swayed emphatically to every song, but as soon as one of these hot numbers wasn't coming through the disappointingly quiet speakers, the crowd-kinetics would wane slightly, the concertgoers' voices joining to form an annoying and invasive symphony of mumbles.
The cutest moment of the show by far came about halfway through the set, with Dave 1 announcing, "Make some noise for my mom and P's mom -- they're both here tonight!" and immediately bursting into "Momma's Boy." Naturally, the crowd went wild. P-Thugg spent a very entertaining five-or-so minutes on the talk box, riling up the crowd with a continuous "Come on New York City, let me hear you scree-eeeaaaammmm!"
Random Notebook Dump: When everyone is swaying together, they all look like really cool hipster Gumby dolls. Where did their bones go? This is weird!
Critical Bias: I know for a fact it is impossible to frown at a Chromeo concert. I've tested it and it's true.
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