If you’ve never heard a note of Chromeo‘s music, upon seeing their two keyboards mounted on sexy leg stands, you can get a pretty good idea of the type of music you’re about to hear. But the cards were stacked against the Canadian synth-pop duo. They took the stage Saturday (Jun. 23) during Day One of NYC’s Governors Ball, after everyone had blasted off into the sunny stratosphere and was on their way down, the drugs wearing off, hankering for that late-afternoon nap to help soldier on into the night. And the sun was directly behind the stage at that point. Recipe for a lazy zombie audience.
But the audience showed some spark, probably because P-Thugg and Dave 1 handled themselves as they always do — like they know that everyone watching thinks they’re the two coolest guys in the room. And their high-gloss neo-’80s sheen was made even cooler thanks to the six backup singers dressed in the style of Robert Palmer’s “Addicted To Love.” (Hey, where have we seen that before?)
They started with 2007 breakthrough song “Fancy Footwork,” and soon the synths and talk-box and guitar were giving us the closest thing we had to a time machine to 1986 (which will count as oldies territory pretty soon…*cries self to sleep*). “Hot Mess” saw the backing vocalists used to great effect, but overall they were underutilized or perhaps just too low in the mix. Which is a shame, because Dave 1 struggled with some of the high notes (though his struggles were nothing compared to those of Passion Pit‘s Michael Angelakos). But unlike Passion Pit, Chromeo’s music loses some of its impact outdoors, as the polished, processed sounds tend to sound thin in the open air.
Despite those minor setbacks, Chromeo’s frighteningly consistent high-gloss catalog served as perfect background music to rouse the drunken masses from their slumber and coax them into throwing back another 5-Hour Energy.