Chromeo Marquee Theatre Tuesday, October 18, 2011
Often, weekends leave me plagued by choice. There's always so much going on. Where do I go? What do I see? It's not the sort of thing that normally happens on a Tuesday.
But last night provided a few concert options. There was Chromeo, Battles, or The Naked and Famous, all three shows spread across town. All the bands are excellent, but I decided on Chromeo in hopes of the Canadian electro-funk duo would be as awesome in concert as Cut Copy, the last band I saw (and reviewed) at Marquee Theatre. Cut Copy is a tough act to follow, but dance music is usually a safe bet (coming from someone who can't dance).
At first glance, Mayer Hawthorne seems like an odd act for Chromeo to take on tour. He doesn't have much in common with the duo except for a shared love of Ray-Ban Wayfarers. Hawthorne, joined by a backing band known as The County performed a catchy mix of soul and R&B that sounds like what would happen if Bruno Mars and Gym Class Heroes had a love child, and that kid exclusively shopped at Urban Outfitters.
Stylistic differences aside, Hawthorne and Chromeo made winning over a crowd look easy. The moment Hawthorne took the stage, the third of the audience closest to him loudly cheered and sang along. Hawthorne directed "the people who are just gonna stand there with their arms crossed" to move to the back of the venue, but there weren't many who opted to sulk in the back. The majority of the audience quickly followed the superfans' cues and Hawthorne's dance instructions, mimicking rainfall and an earthquake with hand gestures.
Hawthorne played a few songs from his new record and encouraged the audience to buy a copy along with the official Mayer Hawthorne bobblehead. He covered Hall & Oates' "You Make My Dreams," Snoop Dogg's "Gangsta Luv," and a few "forever-evers?" from Kanye West's "Diamonds from Sierra Leone."
The crowd liked Hawthorne, but as soon as the lights dimmed for Chromeo, fans chanted "Chromeo-ohhhh" until Dave 1 and P-Thugg took the stage for "Intro," the first track from 2007's Fancy Footwork.
Chromeo's fantastic set featured expansive production. P-Thugg surrounded himself with synthesizers, a talk box, and the drum set that separated him from Dave 1, who bounced from microphone to guitar to laptop. A synthesizer and the laptop were positioned atop a pair of glowing legs modeled after the Fancy Footwork album cover.
Behind Chromeo was a wall of light pillars, strobes, and spotlights that created the most impressive light show I've seen at Marquee Theatre.
Dave 1 briefly touched on Arizona's immigration issue.
"We usually don't talk about politics, but we are in Arizona, and I wouldn't feel comfortable without saying that I see a very beautiful, very diverse audience. Very diverse and, thus, very beautiful -- and that's it. That is all I have to say," before prompting fans to throw fists in the air for "You're So Gangsta." It was the only track from 2004's She's in Control, with the duo focusing on performing all of Fancy Footwork (minus the hidden track, "100%").
Dave 1's vocals were nearly drowned out by the crowd's shouting along with "Momma's Boy" and "Night by Night."The duo sprinkled in some theatrics, including Dave 1 holding a guitar in one hand and drumming with the other, and P-Thugg imitated Dire Straits, singing "I want my Chromeo" through the talk box.
During the encore break, the audience once again repeated "Chromeo, ohhhh," only this time much louder. The duo returned for a lengthy encore including "I am Somebody," a collaboration with the late DJ Mehdi.
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I'm sure both Battles and The Naked and Famous put on good shows, but I'm glad I choose Chromeo. The venue was warm heavy on B.O. stank, but it didn't matter; it was all for good reason -- the Marquee was packed full of people dancing and having an incredible time. Setlist: Intro Fancy Footwork I'm Not Contagious Outta Sight Tenderoni Call Me Up Opening Up Hot Mess Waiting 4 U Bonafied Lovin' (Tough Guys) When The Night Falls You're So Gangsta Momma's Boy Needy Girl Night By Night
Encore: You Make It Rough Don't Turn The Lights On Grow Up I Am Somebody My Girl Is Calling Me (A Liar)
Critic's Notebook: Last Night: Chromeo at Marquee Theatre. The Crowd: Hipsters and girls wearing dresses. Overheard in the Crowd: "That's cheesy" as Dave 1 and P-Thugg played guitar and bass back to back. Random Notebook Dump: You don't need to be on psychedelic drugs to get tripped out by the lights.