Jan 29, 2008

Chromeo at Bowery Ballroom; Steve Aoki, Chromeo, and A-trak at Studio B, 1/26/08

Another night running late where it thankfully didn't matter. Arrived at Bowery Ballroom a little after 10 maybe? Waited in a ridiculously slow-moving coat check line while Kid Sister performed. Got a good spot towards the front on the right once all that was over. Was doing fine until the really tall guy next to me ended up in front of me once Chromeo went on (close to 11). This is not one of those bitching about tall people posts. I was perfectly delighted to lean over to see Chromeo, but what wound up getting to me was the tall dude in front of me, and semi-tall dude next to me were creating a hellish wall of heat. I'm still getting over a hellish cold from last week and hot was not what I wanted to be, so I was not having the best time. Thankfully someone up and to my left moved and I was able to move over and get some fresh air. Unfortunately if I start off not having the best show experience it sometimes takes a little while for me to get back into a good mood. This was one of those times. Finally after a few more songs I snapped out of it and started to enjoy myself. I don't remember the setlist, but they played pretty much every Chromeo song you wanted to hear. They must have played nearly all of Fancy Footwork, and some older stuff I didn't know.

I was chatting with my friend Eddie a few hours before heading to the show. I had seen Chromeo for the first time at Hiro last summer, having heard very little of their material before. I was appalled to see a line stretching around the block, but was able to get in. Hiro was probably the most packed I have ever seen it, and when Chromeo went on people went nuts...the way you would see girls go nuts in the 60's when they saw the Beatles. I recommended Eddie go see them (he was up in Montreal at the time) and it was the same craziness up there but he just thought it was that way because Chromeo are from Montreal.

We were trying to pinpoint why people are sooooo f-ing insane when it comes to Chromeo. While Fancy Footwork is a good album, I don't really get super duper excited and pumped listening to it like I do when I listen to a lot of other electro/dance albums. But at the show the crowd's energy was undeniable. And as annoying as my night started, there is something about all of the Chromeo jams that just make you dance. You don't really have a choice. There is something in their music that physically makes you get down. Even their songs that don't seem that upbeat and dancey, case in point, one of their encores - "100%" - when you listen to it on the album, it's definitely one of their more mellow tracks. When they started playing it at the show I even thought to myself, hmm I wonder how this is going to go over. Literally within 10 seconds I realized it was going over fine as I and everyone around me was getting down. Something about Chromeo and their music just has feel good pop appeal.

Anyway...overall, a good show. If I did not start off having a crappy crowd-related experience, I probably would be saying it was a really great fun show.

Other things of note:

1. Chromeo seem really humble and thankful for the success they are experiencing now. From what Dave was saying it seems like they used to play New York a lot when they first started out, and they seemed very appreciative of playing Bowery as the headliner. It made you like them even more.

2. They have lights similar to the ones in Simian Mobile Disco's live set-up, however they are not blinding and synced up with the beats.

3. Steve Aoki walked in right in front of me which was really hilarious considering he was supposed to be playing Studio B later. Halfway through the show I realized he was standing like 5 feet away from me, actually watching the show. It all just struck me as very funny.

After waiting forever in the coat check line (conveniently near "talking really really loud" guy, who got really louder when talking about the writers strike, b/c much to my dismay this asshole was a writer) I cabbed it to Studio B (which wound up being pretty reasonable) since Mike and Josh had already been there for hours. Got in just as Aoki was starting his set. My deal with Aoki has been...I just somehow never got into him, and then I got kind of turned off after seeing tons of pictures of him at parties completely trashed and not dj-ing. All of that went out the window once I saw him dj Saturday. He was fricken awesome. He spun a really solid electro set. New stuff, classic stuff, it was great and consistently banging. There were multiple times where I was wishing he would play a specific track and he did - it wasn't a predictable set, he was just making all the right moves. He only dj-ed for a short while, then Chromeo took the decks and played some good stuff, not the smoothest transitions, but good selections. Then A-trak spun for a while, also very good. By that point, maybe 2ish? I was really tired. I hadn't been drinking at all since I was out b/c I was drinking for a while with friends before I left to go out. I was really thirsty for just water or a coke, but Studio B was insanely packed and hot (they really need to find a better way to ventilate that place b/c once it gets hot it just stays that way) and I had a nice area of personal space going over by the railing so I didn't wanna move. But then all of a sudden I got really nauseous, and then there was a line for the bathroom. So I called it a night. I felt better once I got some air, but it was late and I was (and still am) trying to kick this cold. I was pissed b/c it was turning into such a good party, but oh well. They'll all be back. Hopefully soon. Overall a very fun evening.


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