Chromatics 5/30Jun 01, 2019
Chromatics' Double Exposure Tour plays a feeling of nostalgia for the future. That is to say, it feels like one has stepped into a trippy 70s meets 80s future space full of kick-snare drums, neon cityscapes, great outfits, and rotary phones. Put on by the independent Portland slash Los Angeles based label Italians Do It Better, the night featured bands In Mirrors, Desire, and of course Chromatics. All of whom brought dancing energy and a lot of synthesizers (admittedly the synth nerd in my was geeking out about the multiple Univox Korg k-2s and the MS-20 which was on stage for a spell). All synthesizers aside, each band played nicely off of each other, which made the lineup seem as well thought out as the cinematic marketing theme.
Starting the night was In Mirrors, the Brighton UK based "electronic soul" band which brought the aforementioned MS-20 and a whole lotta gravely new wave sounds which were reminiscent of Bowie's "The Man who Stole the World."
Next up was the band Desire, who showed up in stride as the singer Megan Louise walked onto stage with a latex outfit which set the scene for some absolutely-scandalous-in-the-best-way type of beats. I have to admit I was jamming out hard to this one. The graphics in the background were also pretty great, consisting of animations of line drawings with a neon red, blue, and white theme. The music was a nice mix of synth pop and italo-disco which had me dancing all the way through. The second to last song they played really got me though. With a prominent drum machine and fast synth lines it brought me back to my euro-dance childhood of Haddaway, Vengaboys, and La Bouche. In the end I was very sweaty.
Finally, one by one, starting with producer and multi-instrumentalist Johnny Jewel and ending with singer Ruth Radelet, Chromatics took the stage. The set started with some droning synthesizer sounds and built like an art film, slowly but with gusto and some unexplainable bits. There were moments of wild dancing, moments of sedated trancing, and moments of pure bliss. The chromatics set really captured the ideas of cinema which had played upon at the merch table and in the marketing of Italians do it Better. The graphics were reminiscent of the trippier parts of Ingmar Bergman or Andrei Tarkovsky films, with literal double exposure effects to bring the name and full circle. The encore served as a post credit sort of epilogue, starting with a quiet number with only Ruth on stage, and ending with a wild, almost psych-rock wall of sound which wrapped everything up in a nice, very synthesizery package.
Written by Barthollowmew Presby