Live Review: Chromeo – Leeds, 09.06.24

Formed more than 20 years ago in Montreal, Chromeo might just be one of the best kept secrets around. Still with just over 1 million monthly listeners on Spotify, they’re a long way down the streaming league tables, but there was a packed out Project House in Leeds to feel the full electro-funk force of these Canadian college friends.

Having visited these shores on only a handful of occasions in the last decade, and never venturing further than London, David “Dave 1” Macklovitch isn’t far wrong when he tells us that last time he was here he “had a MySpace page.”

If you have listened to the records, Chromeo create a rich, well produced sound, and I wondered how well that would translate into the live environment. With just Dave 1 and P-Thugg (Patrick Gemayel) on stage, it’s quite an undertaking to build the wall of funky sound that characterises their output. Opening with the 2007 track Fancy Footwork any doubts were swiftly put to bed. Emerging with a blinding backlit backdrop, Dave 1 strides on playing a silver guitar, while P-Thugg takes his place behind the keys, housed atop a pair of metallic legs, one of their visual trademarks.

The vocals are crisp and the beats irresistibly funky as the synergy between the two performers fizzes into life and brings the crowd alive. Throughout the set, P-Thugg switches between bass, keys alongside his vocals and it provides a rich backdrop to the front man energy of Dave 1. You can hear the influences of Nile Rodgers, elements of Daft Punk as the duo take us through some of their new material from the new album, Adult Contemporary.

The old school “Funk Lords” bring back some older tunes, starting with Night by Night, and a couple from the decade-old record White Women. It’s not long though, before we’re back into the new material with Words With You eliciting a two-step from the band and the whole crowd, the room swaying from side to side.

P-Thugg takes centre stage on a couple of occasions, with the lead vocal on Lost On The Way Home, but more notably, and humorously, when he addresses the audience through the talk box that has, so far, been used purely for adding texture to the Chromeo sound. It’s just another element of the joy that the band manage to create throughout the whole show.

The lighting is virtually a third performer on stage, and as I take in some of the show from the very rear of the room, it’s clear what a well drilled production this is. The sound is immaculate, layered and sculpted to be irresistibly danceable, and the room is illuminated by the huge light set and the reflective instruments across the stage.

Chromeo return to the stage, following chants of “Chromeo oh-oh” to deliver an encore to please new and old fans alike. 100% from their first album, segues into Personal Effects, their latest single. Already, the crowd know the lyrics and, with the funk still resounding in our ears, we head off into the Leeds night, hoping that it’s not another decade before we see them back in the UK.

Previous Album Review : Forest Law –‘Zero’ : Bossa beats, international grooves and so much more on this globetrotting musician’s debut.
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