Friday, March 23, 2012

Dance Music: Fancy Footwork

Chromeo: Fancy Footwork

I don’t dance. That said, when I do dance, it’s typically only under the influence of excess. Excessive energy, excessive chemicals, and excessive beats. Chromeo really lays it on thick. All the time. Their music is saturated in babymaking funk grooves and shameless Romeo-lyrics. Their live performances are every bit as indulgent. Sporting glowing, feminine, high heeled legs as stands for their synthesizers, the duo pumps venues full of retro synthesizers and vocodered vocals to induce an indefatigable dance trance throughout fans of surprisingly varied ages.

When a friend called me with the invite of an extra ticket to Chromeo’s latest St. Louis show, I anticipated a dance club atmosphere, where I would either be submerged in an incessantly colliding crowd of people wearing their sunglasses indoors or sitting at a table in a futile attempt to have a conversation whilst under bombardment from the beat machines. We ended up standing on the balcony of The Pageant, overlooking the small sea of dancers, and not a single person in the concert hall was sitting down. Dance afflicted even the parents who had obviously only come to chaperone their eager children to what must have been one of their first shows. Within minutes (of finishing my first drink) I found myself shaking my hips and flittering about like the unfortunate victim of a spasm-heavy seizure, and I was loving it.

My friends and I danced all night at that concert, even through the choreographed, tailored-for-MTV, pop openers, Mayer Hawthorne. I can’t say that any of the songs Chromeo played were significantly distinguishable from each other. The same bouncy beat kept people’s feet moving at a pretty consistent rate, and the instruments and effects weren’t particularly diverse. But why do they need to be? Chromeo is a duo with a singular goal: make people dance. And that’s exactly what they accomplish.

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