Chromeo at the Roundhouse
Dominique Young Unique opened Chromeo’s gig at the Roundhouse last night, and it has to be said that this young girl (born in 1991) has got real talent, despite her limited experience (the venue wasn’t right for the artist, perhaps a smaller one would have been better). Her performance recalled a younger M.I.A. or a more genuine Niki Minaj, and there were remarkable songs on her setlist, among them the über-cool Earthquake, featuring DJ Fresh and Diplo, and Throw It Down.
Ten years ago, when Chromeo released their first record She’s in Control, the hipster phenomenon was on the rise. At the time, the prototypical features of this social set were about to explode and consolidate through the years: a passion for outmoded fashions like the moustache, a fetish for nostalgia and vintage, a perpetual show of unusual hobbies. The glue that kept all of these features together has been the irony, an attitude and almost a way of living.
Chromeo have been using irony as the foundation for their music for the last ten years: everything in Chromeo’s aesthetic and music gravitates towards it. Their look is a tribute to the pseudo macho styles from the second half of the 80s, with cross-references to heavy metal and Hi-NRG bands; their music alludes to electro-funk bands such as Hall & Oates, Hot Chocolate, Sylvester and most of all Prince; their records are club music with irony, without taking themselves too seriously.
At the Roundhouse the band played in front of a sell-out crowd for about 90 minutes. This Jewish Lebanese duo from Montreal, formed of singer/guitarist Dave 1 and keyboardist/vocoder P-Thugg, has a beloved and devoted fan base, who shout their name before and after the gig (“Chrome-oh! Chrome-oh!”). All the biggest hits were played: the evergreen Needy Girl, the catchy new single Jealous (I Ain’t With It) and Come Alive – the collaboration with Toro Y Moy. The Encore was Don’t Turn the Lights On, a moody, funky trip, while the choppy opening Bonafied Love sounded like a cross between Justice and Klymaxx. On-stage the band played an electric guitar and a set of keyboards, synths and a real Moog synthesizer, while the drums and the beats were recorded.
Chromeo’s performance was funny and witty, peaking during the famous hits (Night by Night, Fancy Footwork), but one wonders how long the effect can last with irony as the band’s driving force. To date, we’ll just keep Chromeo as a guilty pleasure!
Photos: Adam Bennett
For further information and future events visit Chromeo’s website here.
Watch the video for Jealous (I Ain’t With It) here: