The sold out crowd at 9:30 club were nice and ready to see the Montreal duo as they began their Green Label Sound sponsored tour in Washington, DC last Monday. Coming off of, two previously celebrated albums, the self-proclaimed “only successful Arab/Jewish partnership since the dawn of human culture” rocked 9:30 club like it was an 80s rock concert, complete with blinding light setup.
It seems like only yesterday that Chromeo came onto the scene, getting praise from hipsters and scenesters everywhere. Interestingly enough, the group pulls not from the hipster stalwarts of new wave and 80s hip-hop, but from the post disco era or segregated 80s radio, where groups like Klymaxx, Cameo, The Time and Debarge ruled the urban airwaves. With a foot in the past, danceable, catchy and accessible tunes, the duo was tailor made for stardom. But the question must be asked….are these guys just a catchy gimmick, or are they for real?
Fortunately they were the latter. What gets lost in the 80s posturing is that both Dave 1 and P-Thugg are accomplished artists, and do what they do very well. P-Thugg is a master of the talkbox (I wanted to slap the girl next to me who called it Auto-Tune) channels one Roger Troutman, while Dave 1 makes a surprisingly good frontman foregoing the laid back R&B for more of a rock star status on stage.
And like the rock bands of yore, the duo stayed mostly to their hits like “Needy Girl,” “Bonafide Lovin’,” “Fancy Footwork,” and Tenderoini. They did preview two new songs from thier newest album “” in addition to the latest single “Night by Night,” but it played backseat to the rest of the albums in their catalog. And with the energy in the room that night, it was the right idea.
I’m not a Chromeo stan by any means, but I was no doubt impressed by the live concert experience. Are they exploiting an era of urban music and reselling it to the new urban masses? Most certainly. But the duo does what they do and they do it well. They know how to write catchy songs, entertain, and sell out shows. And sometimes that’s all you can ask for in this world.