Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Chromeo treat the Electric Factory to Halloween Funk

Chromeo were in Philadelphia this Monday for Halloween.  While the Electric Factory is not my favorite of the Philly venues, I could tell something special was in the air when I arrived.  Perhaps it was the mutual high blood sugar shared by all the guests at the Factory.  Tons of kids were dressed in costumes, some of which were hilarious-- definitely a few unique choices thrown in, too.  I haven't even been a Chromeo fan for long, but I was really anticipating their show, and they sure as hell delivered.

Emerging from backstage around 10:30, Dave (vocals & Guitar) and Pee (Synths, bass, and talkbox) were dressed appropriately as the Blues Brothers. While Dave often rocks a suit, it was nice to see the dynamic duo in Halloween spirit.  One of the first things you'll notice at a Chromeo show is Pee's incredible synth collection.  In addition to his signature talkbox, he tours with a Minimoog Voyager, a Moog Sonic Six, and a Korg MS-20, among other keyboards I couldn't see clearly.  Quite a set to lug around city to city, but it really is essential to Chromeo's atmosphere.  While there is a good bit of backing tracks, I didn't feel cheated-- to see Chromeo with a backing band would cheapen the show.  In addition to that, many of the classic synth solos are still there, played live by Pee.  To put it simply, Pee is bit of a modern synth legend.  He's incredibly dedicated to take the massive rig around rather than simplifying to two keyboards and using MIDI and programs-- and it's something I think people really appreciate.  I know I do.  Dave, on the other hand, rocked mean guitar solos all night.  What's really nice his guitar playing is he keeps it true to the recordings, but takes the right amount of liberties and unique changes-- you're not missing out on the album, but you're also not getting a direct recreation.  The middle ground keeps it fresh, and very entertaining.  The guys sounded great.

The other interesting level to Chromeo is the great chemistry that Dave and Pee have on stage together.  Clearly the years of being best friends and playing shows together has given them a unique sort of musical DNA, and it works incredibly well.  You can't help but watch each half equally of Chromeo, and sucked in to the magic of the performance.  They genuinely seem happy to play, and it's a relief compared to some of the more sterile performances of other bands of the today.

Some personal highlights for me include "When the Night Falls", which takes a different turn from the album version due to the absence of Solange Knowles.  Instead, Pee rocks the talkbox to cover for her, and gives the song a great new feel to it.  Another favorite of mine was "Opening Up", which already has a great guitar (I think? possibly synth) solo on the record.  Seeing it live just makes it that much more magical.

If you haven't seen Chromeo yet this tour, I highly recommend trying to go to those last couple dates in NYC and LA.  If you can't make those, you'll sadly have to wait until their next great tour.  I had tried to arrange an appearance of the guys on the site a little while back, but it appears they've been a bit busy.  Dave and Pee, you're still welcome as a guest on the site, and you're always welcome in Philly.

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