Like a romantic suitor in one of their electro-funk songs, the gents of Chromeo don’t mind taking their time. And the payoff was worth the wait when David “Dave 1” Macklovitch and Patrick “P-Thugg” Gemayel blasted through 9:30 Club in twin shows recently.
Touring in recognition of new album Head Over Heels, released on June 15 via Big Beat Records, Chromeo stuck largely to the new record and 2014’s well-received White Women. Indeed, the setlist sizzled with tracks from a sound cultivated over 14 years and five studio albums, but one that really found its groove in the latter half of the band’s career so far.
New single “Juice,” a song of carefree romance sung by the typical Chromeo character who nonetheless is sincere about his love, fit the winning formula perfectly. Ever-clad with shades, Dave 1 sold his romantic visions with a winning smile and a flirty hoist of his guitar.
The music flowed so easily that the songs quickly paired with one another as Chromeo made a medley first of “Night by Night” from their appealing and accessible second full-length album, Business Casual, and “Tenderoni” from Fancy Footwork and then of “Needy Girl,” a surprise flashback to their 2004 debut album, She’s in Control, and “Momma’s Boy,” a cute entry that also did little to advance differences in gender roles for sure.
The audience didn’t mind. The nearly capacity crowd on June 12 swayed the evening away with the carefree confidence of a Chromeo courtship. And besides when the songs are as good as “Old 45’s,” which arrives in the middle of the show, you not only truly understand the sincerity of Dave 1 and P-Thugg but you also comprehend their entire raison d’etre. They are here to dance with us for sure, but they also want us to look back on the experience years later with the sweet nostalgia of fond summer memories. I am wont to say that Chromeo owe a bit to Daryl Hall and John Oates with their soulful frontmen crooning about where they can and can’t go for love, but it’s fair to say that George Michael looms large in their mythology as well as “Old 45’s” reminds us in its video homage to “Faith.”
Although Chromeo didn’t often reach back to their earlier days, thankfully they broke out “Fancy Footwork,” a phenomenal dance tune from the 2007 album of the same name. Loose from three-quarters of a blissfully tuneful set, the audience did the song proud with a giddy greeting consisting of a flurry of feet. The buoyant track remains a welcome call to arms (legs?) for dancefloor revelers.
Chromeo stayed on target in their encore with “Sexy Socialite” from White Women, and the crowd couldn’t have been happier. With Dave at the front of the stage and P-Thugg in position around one of several impressive synthesizer rigs as usual, the guys closed out the show with assurances that they maintain VIP status with their admirers.
Catch Chromeo tonight, June 19, in Philadephia! Or any time on a long and winding tour that brings the duo back to our area for a performance at Rams Head Live in Baltimore on Sept. 25. (Buy your tickets online before that show sells out!) Here are some pictures of Chromeo performing at 9:30 Club for the second of two nights on June 12, 2018.