Live Review: Chromeo at the Masquerade in Atlanta, 9/22/11
Please don’t tell Dave-1 or P-Thugg that disco is dead. And if it was, Montreal’s Chromeo have revived it bigger than the Frankenstein monster. The electro-funk duo got together in 2004 and has been filling dance floors and bursting eardrums ever since. Having been compared to a swath of such 80s icons as Klymaxx, Sylvester and even Hall & Oates, Chromeo play familiar sounds but with a cutting edge. Check out this amazing collaboration with Daryl Hall from Live from Daryl’s House.
The duo is made up of Dave-1, the charismatic frontman who sings and plays guitar, looking like he just stepped off the set of Miami Vice. P-Thugg is the DJ synth master who looks like your plumber with shirt unbuttoned and belly hanging out (speaking and singing ONLY through the talkbox – think Frampton Comes Alive). It’s an unlikely duo, both visually and musically. Maybe that’s why it works. The fans believe it works. Before the duo even took the stage, the crowd was chanting “Chromeo, ohhhh-ohhh!” sounding like a 21st century remix of The Wizard of Oz munchkins.
Touring in support of their latest release, Business Casual, Chromeo have brought back 70s funk with an 80s synth feel and a 2011 attitude. Contemporaries Hot Chip, Holy Ghost!, Cut Copy and LCD Soundsystem would all concur. “Hot Mess,” “Night By Night,” “Fancy Footwork,” “Bonafied Lovin” and “Momma’s Boy” each brought down the house. This is not music you’ll hear on your local Top 40 radio station because it does not fit within the constraints of that music. When someone says, “Think outside the box”, they’re talking about Chromeo.
The floor at the Heaven Stage (upstairs) of the Masquerade was giving several inches as hundreds of crazed Chromeo fans jumped up and down in unison. If the floor survived this show, it will be intact for eternity.
Opening the show was Sammy Bananas, who’s DJ skills were only topped by his saxophone skills. That’s right, he’s working the turntables, filling the dancefloor, dropping some wicked beats – then out comes a saxophone. Not a saxophone file played from his Mac, but a REAL saxophone. It was a welcome surprise and the crowd went batty.
On deck were Mayer Hawthorne & The County, providing “blue-eyed R&B” to a happy throng of dancers. Imagine the best R&B/Soul music fronted by this young white dude who sounds like Smokey Robinson (but with more confidence). Hawthorne most definitely wanted all eyes on him as he is a first-class showman and wanted no fan to miss a second. “Okay Atlanta, let’s put the phones away and act like the show is happening right now!” he said, with a touch of sarcasm. The band acted like they were the headliner, and got the love and respect as such from fans.