Chromeo Gets Flashy at The Rave
Note: The voice in this review is based off of the opinions and commentary of Chromeo skeptic-turned-growing-fan Elyse Cizek.
Electro-pop duo Chromeo brought their glittery plastic beats and puzzlingly tight pants (seriously, how in the world?) to The Rave in Milwaukee,WI for a show that promised a packed dance floor and some serious 2008 nostalgia. What we got was a high energy dance party full of people we would rather party without, led by a completely predictable duo who really, really wanted to make sure we were having a good time.
As we arrived to the venue, we were directed to enter through the side door and weave through a disarmingly thorough security check. Purses and wallets emptied out, inner thighs frisked, the whole shebang. After many years of attending shows at The Rave, never have we been so thoroughly frisked. That female security guard definitely got to second base. After everything short of grabbing our ankles, we found our way upstairs into the crowd. As the lights went down, the crowd began chanting “Chro-me-o, Oh-oh”, whether by coincidence or fan loyalty, the chant led perfectly into their walk-on, “Intro” from their 2007 release, Fancy Footwork.
The first half of the show was impressive. The duo played some older hits with lots of energy, and perfect lighting. Dave 1’s chrome guitar reflected a blinding spotlight into the crowd. Powerful strobes and lighted mirrors added to the sparkly disco vibe. An unmistakable energy filled the room, gauged by screaming and applause and directed by P-Thugg and his talk box. They egged the crowd to scream louder, as to be expected, but after the sixth round, we were ready to move on. This seemed to be a bit of a theme throughout the show. Dave 1 had the crowd clapping and trying to dance to “Mamma’s Boy” (a very, very difficult song to really dance or clap to in the first place), then went off into several solos. None were especially impressive, all accompanied by confident choreography and a cocky smile, until he disjointedly transitioned back into instructed clapping for “Mamma’s Boy.” This went on about four times, it was confusing. My mind wandered to whether or not the measurements of the sets of illuminated mannequin legs holding up the keyboard and decks were formed from Dave 1’s. Thankfully this was followed by a few newer hits. “Sexy Socialite” from their 2014 release White Women was easily the highlight of the show. The crowd’s energy was high and everyone was moving. For “Over Your Shoulder”, Dave 1 called out to all the ladies to get on someone’s shoulders. Clever. About 15 cute girls popped up out of the crowd one by one, cameras out, followed by one very large, fleshy adult man who proceeded to flash his nips to the stage and roar with pride. Oh, Milwaukee.
Aside from Dave 1’s utterly distracting pants and flashy demeanor, P-Thugg truly stole our hearts as the mastermind of Chromeo’s sound. While Dave 1 acted as the pretty boy front man, P-Thugg held down flawless vocals on his talk box all while handling a drum machine, a keyboard, and DJ equipment. It was clear that both guys were extremely talented musicians, able to transition between instruments effortlessly for a product that The Rave’s terrible sound system could barely handle. Chromeo is a band whose tongue-in-cheek lyrics and over-the-top synth sit on the fence of genius and parody. Closing out the set with their some of their biggest hits, “Jealous” and “Fancy Footwork”, Dave 1 punctuated each song with a new activity. He instructed us to sing along (admitting “I’ve been asking a lot of you guys tonight, but…”) followed by a two-step demonstration, a couple “everybody wave your hands” , and another “Chromeo, Oh-oh” chant to wrap up.Seeing Chromeo in a smaller venue on a Saturday night is a party.
The show was full of energy and there is no doubt that a good time was had by everyone there. However, the awkward and unfortunate elements of their performance trumped their well- rehearsed and seasoned set. The songs are good, the duo is solid, and their on-stage chemistry is profound. I just wished they’d stop making me work so hard to prove we love them. It distracts me almost as much as Dave 1’s tiny little ankles.