Friday night brought The Funklords themselves — Montreal duo Chromeo — to the Hollywood Palladium for a packed, sold out show.
Let me start by saying that I’ve been listening to Chromeo since I was 17. My high school boyfriend put “Needy Girl” on a mix CD for me in 2005 and I distinctly remember stopping the CD and thinking, “This is good.” And then a second later, “Wait, is he trying to tell me something?”
Well, fast forward to 2018. It’s a hot summer night in Hollywood and LA’s eternally young and hip stream into the Palladium, a venue that never fails to remind me of an alien roller disco. The stage is outfitted entirely in chrome, with stairs that descend from a platform, surrounded by chrome columns that will eventually light up the mirrored stage in refracted psychedelic waves of neon rainbows.
I’m an adult now — a grown woman. But as soon as the lights go down and David “Dave 1” Macklovitch appears at the top of the platform with his electric guitar to chants of “Chromeo-eo-ohhh-oh” I’m instantly transported back to my youth. As he bursts exuberantly into the first licks of “Night by Night” off 2010’s acclaimed album Business Casual, I toss my drink and quite literally run headfirst into the crowd to dance my ass off.
Dave 1 and his other half, Patrick “P-Thugg” Gemayel, have been playing music together since they were 15 when they met at school in Montreal, and you can tell from seeing them live that these guys have been making music together for decades. Their unlikely blend of neo-funk, sultry 70s, synthy French dance music, and vocoder vocals is entirely their own.
These guys have been staples of the underground scene for years, and it surprises me that they haven’t had a mainstream radio hit, but maybe they’re vying for that because a lot of the tracks off their brand new album, Head Over Heels feel ready for Top 40 radio play, especially “Must’ve Been,” an Bruno Mars-y track featuring DRAM.
Let’s be clear, radio-ready or not, this is baby-making music, as evidenced by the hordes of young people groping each other and making out around me, but even they come up for air during “Fancy Footwork”, a smash hit off Chromeo’s 2008 album by the same name. The band plays “Bad Decision”, a new track, and an extended version of “Jealous”, (a personal favorite).
The crowd is eating it up, but things go from rowdy to straight up raucous when they start to play “Old 45’s”, a song literally everyone knows the words to. Before the chorus, Dave holds the mic out to the crowd and they yell back, “Why can’t we be like Mom and Dad?” It’s a line that’s both ironic and poignant, silly and sweet. It’s all the things that Chromeo is — a little Top 40, a little underground funk, and a lot of nostalgia.
Words and photos by Stephanie Varela Rheingold