One has to wonder how many canisters of fog juice Chromeo used up during their set. The duo was so wreathed in the fog that the icy white spotlights ended up diffusing throughout the stage, casting the entire space in an icy-white glow. The entire tableau bordered on tasteless.
But then, that’s kind of the point. Electro-funk duo Chromeo’s Boston Calling performance was so unabashedly kitschy that, at some point during the set, it rolled back over into the territory of unambiguously cool. From their trademark Rockette-legged keyboards to their matching sunglasses to their gloriously awkward names, David “Dave 1” Macklovitch and Patrick “P-Thugg” Gemayel pursued their tacky aesthetic with so much zeal that even the most embittered concert-goer would find himself hard-pressed not to jam along.
The set started off with a slightly extended rendition of the song “Intro,” from Chromeo’s 2007 sophomore effort, “Fancy Footwork.” Though a slightly narcissistic choice of opener, the performance did rouse the relatively sedate Boston Calling crowd into an enthusiastic chant of “Chrom-eee-oooh….ooh, ooh,” à la “The Wizard of Oz.” The duo then launched into their 2009 hit “Night by Night,” drawing cheers from the crowd. Dave 1, microphone in hand, jumped off the stage to sing with the front-row concertgoers, dancing along the edge of the glow-stick swinging crowd.
Throughout the set, Dave 1 and P-Thugg had an absolutely commanding stage presence, playing up their contrasts to great theatrical effect. The lanky Dave 1, dressed in a retro leather-jacket-and-torn-skinny-jeans ensemble, strutted around the stage with a loose, self-assured energy, while the stocky P-Thugg, ensconced behind his keyboard, served as a striking counterweight to Dave 1’s borderline manic stage demeanor.
The duo followed Night-by-Night with “Somethingood,” off their 2014 album “White Women.” In one of the most stirring moments of the set, P Thugg emerged from behind his keyboard with an electric bass and proceded to jam out back to back with Dave 1, a move that would have been tacky and grating were it not for its sheer earnestness; the duo were enjoying themselves immensely, and their enthusiasm spilled over into the crowd.
Chromeo followed up “Somethingood” with “Over Your Shoulder,” another song from “White Women.” The groovy, relatively low-key number provided a temporary lull in the set, priming the crowd for uptempo track “Sexy Socialite,” also from White Women. During this number, the band committed one of its only aesthetic slip-ups: P-Thugg left his post to jump down and jam with the front-row concertgoers. When juxtaposed with the crowd, P-Thugg’s unruffled cool quickly collapsed down to a certain stiffness, and the tableau, as shown on the venue’s gigantic screens, was awkward.But P-Thugg eventually clambered back up onto the stage, and the duo kicked off their closing number, 2008 hit “Bonafied Lovin’,” a thrumming, meaty, neo-disco number that re-energized the crowd after the speedy but slightly too airy “Sexy Socialite.” The duo omitted the song’s coda to finish the performance on a triumphant riff—and then the stage went dark, and Dave 1 and P-Thugg disappeared back into the fog.
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