Chromeo Impress Small, Energetic Crowd at House of Blues

Chromeo owned the stage Wednesday night
Chromeo owned the stage Wednesday night Photo by Matthew Keever
House of Blues
April 18, 2018

Stage presence is a difficult thing to master.

Most acts spend years working on it, and they're only able to make it seem effortless after lots and lots of practice. Harder still is commanding the stage as a duo, especially when one of the two band members is affixed to a certain spot due to his equipment.

Despite all that, Chromeo was able to pull it off Wednesday night. While P-Thugg, born Patrick Gemayel, was stuck behind his talkbox - pushing buttons, turning dials and reshaping his vocals - David "Dave1" Macklovitch strutted across the stage, jumped on top of props and continually raised the crowd's energy level.

And, of course, it helped that they had a killer light show.

On first listen, Chromeo's dance-friendly tunes might come across as a poor man's Daft Punk. But there's a depth to their music if listeners are willing to pay attention. Gemayel and Macklovitch boast a serious aptitude for songwriting, and their live performance Wednesday night made those tracks sound even more impressive.

Sure, there were backing vocals and a few pre-recorded bits. But for the most part, what fans were hearing was being produced onstage at that very moment, which is rare with electronic-heavy acts. On top of their ability to recreate the studio magic in a live setting, Chromeo's set was rife with catchy pop tunes that everyone could enjoy.

Songs like "Old 45s," "Juice" and "Jealous (I Ain't With It)" showcased the band's capacity for radio-friendly pop that was emotionally relatable and sonically engaging. In "Old 45s," Macklovitch even makes a Notorious B.I.G. reference.

Flanked by light displays, Gemayel used a vocoder throughout the band's performance, adding some credence to what I had mistakenly believed to be sampled vocals. He left his perch only a handful of times to play guitar. Meanwhile, Macklovitch kept fans dancing with his crunchy guitar riffs as he hopped around the stage in tight leather pants. Neither of them seemed to take themselves too seriously, and it was clear that both of them were psyched to be onstage.

Wednesday's show preceded a monthlong break for the duo. Macklovitch said he and Gemayel would take a breather before returning to the road in support of their fifth studio album, Head Over Heels, which comes out mid-June. But if Wednesday night's performance was any indication, the group doesn't need to take any time off. They're ready to promote their new record now.

Then again, if they're able to get some rest and come back rejuvenated, fans will be in for a quite a treat.
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Matt is a regular contributor to the Houston Press’ music section. He graduated from the University of Houston with a degree in print journalism and global business. Matt first began writing for the Press as an intern, having accidentally sent his resume to the publication's music editor instead of the news chief. After half a decade of attending concerts and interviewing musicians, he has credited this fortuitous mistake to divine intervention.
Contact: Matthew Keever