ACL Live Shot: Chromeo
Canadians create a live experience out of push-button music
By Kahron Spearman,
1:11PM, Mon. Oct. 6, 2014
Chromeo turned the vicinity in front of the RetailMeNot stage into a sunny Studio 54. Presenting all of the shiny, metallic references that represented the Eighties, the Montreal duo screened out and packaged the pleasurable angles of a bygone era into a dynamic, theatrical show.
The pair’s occasional label as soul-pop in certain mainstream outlets remains misguided. They come from a lineage dating back to Sun Ra, Kraftwerk, and Yellow Magic Orchestra, coming forward with Afrika Bambaataa’s “Planet Rock,” and then Zapp, with Roger Troutman.
It’s important that casual listeners, including some of Sunday’s confused crowd, refer to Chromeo as referential, but authentic electro-funk. Their rendition of “Hot Mess” played out as part Troutman, part Klymaxxx’s “Meeting in the Ladies’ Room.” True to that legacy, P-Thugg does the talkbox justice, revving up the crowd and preventing any sort of lull amongst those who understood.
An implied function of electro-funk lies in the understanding that live versions of album cuts will sound outstanding live. This was the case of “Sexy Socialite,” a significant upgrade to the diet, Controversy-era album version by Prince. For Chromeo, the devil is in the most minute details, creating a live experience out of push-button music.