Chromeo – February 19 – Pomona Fox Theatre

I’ve sadly neglected the blog for a couple weeks and feel sort of guilty.

Tons of excuses, but none of them very good ones.  Just lots of distractions.

I saw Chromeo  a couple weeks ago at the Fox Theatre in Pomona and promised a review.  First off the theatre is awesome, a great restoration it’s sort of like the place we dreamed of opening back in the 80’s when Joel B. and I worked on opening a club/concert hall in Riverside.  The seat I was able to grab in the balcony was perfect too.  Comfortable leather, on the aisle in the front row of the balcony.  Pretty much perfect.

First up was a band from Japan named, “The Susan”.  They had that sort of sloppy puck attitude that carried the Go-Go’s, Runaways and dozens of other lesser lights through the 80’s.  Initially I wasn’t very impressed, but their sheer enthusiasm with some poppy hooks sort of won me over in the end.  I didn’t rush out to buy their CD, but I’ve heard a lot worse bands kick off a triple bill show and they were listenable and fun.

Here’s a clip I found:

Sadly, I can’t say the same about MNDR the next act up.  She (just one performer) was a trainwreck of loops and tuneless vocals.  Mostly in the dark and only lit by a video projector hitting the screen behind her.  (Okay, I have to comment on that since it’s what I do for a living…hire a projectionist!  The image was not scaled onto the screen and mostly spilling past it into a void.  It looked half-assed, and unprofessional and annoyed me on a personal level before she even played (looped?) a note.)  She was bad enough that I escaped the tumult to the lobby to simply get away from her for a couple numbers.

Here’s a short demo clip of her:

Chromeo was up next.  And, let me say right off that I enjoyed the show, but now a couple weeks later I can’t really say that it stuck with me.  They pulled off a big enough live sound for two guys,  but the limit of so many loops is that the show felt sort of canned, they never really stretched out and hit a groove the way you’s hope a tight funk/dance band would.  A few more musicians on stage might have given them a little more room to breathe and stretch out.

One thing I have to note is that the lighting was awesome!  Putting back on my professional hat, I thought it was one of the more creative and great looking shows I’ve seen in that scale of a theatre in a long time.  They didn’t have a ton of gear, but the LD used it all VERY effectively and really did a cool job.

The band ran through a generous helping of their two albums.  I was a bit surprised that they tossed off a song like “Don’t turn the lights on” so early in the set (about a third of the way in), but that also sort of illustrated to me that they are pretty unconventional (in a good way).  Yet, it just wasn’t as amazing as seeing Robert Randolph a week before.  It was good but not great.  But, I set a pretty high bar for relatively unknown band with two albums by saying that.  I love the mix of funk, 80’s and electronic sounds.  Great studio band, fun enough live…give them time I suppose.

I have to say that I love some of the fun touches in their videos.  And, I’d see them again…just maybe not if MNDR was opening….

Here’s a couple videos, the first a live on Letterman clip:


This is older, but I love the Dire Straits look of the whole video:


This last one is from “Live at Daryl’s House” with Daryl Hall and his band:



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