Chromeo at The Cannery, Bell Biv DeVoe at Limelight, Magic Kids at Grimey's 

The Spin

The Spin

A fine Chromance

After months of unbridled, shameless hype — due in no small part to in-house talent booker Drew Mischke's unhealthy obsession with the band — Chromeo's first-ever visit to Nashville finally arrived last Thursday night.

By the time Telephoned had finished their garage-step-flavored interpretations of various dance-floor favorites, elbow room had become scarce, the lines for the bathrooms were barely worth braving and PBRs were flying over the counter so fast the Cannery Ballroom staff could barely keep them cold. Meanwhile, Holy Ghost! came trotting out with a darkly melodic blend of electro-clash and no-wave disco. It was enough to get at least half the asses in the house wiggling and more than a few fists pumping toward the stage.

The anticipation was palpable, and The Cannery most definitely at capacity, as a collective chant ensued among the eager mob of kids, cats, chicks, dudes, hipsters, bros, bags, baguettes and everything in between. And Chromeo did not disappoint with their opening rendition of early single "Me and My Man," backed by a blinding array of flashing lights. A hardcore boogie-down production ensued, peppered with cuts off their upcoming Business Casual, but with the bulk of the booty-quaking going down during faves like "Bona Fide Lovin' " and "Tenderoni" off 2007's Fancy Footwork.

Mercy Lounge's trademark afterparties following events of this size have proven inconsistent at best, with most folks able to resist the limited allure of an after-hours DJ set in favor of a few hours of sleep before work. But a set of hits by Hall & Oates, as performed by local heavyweights How I Became the Bomb, proved to be the surefire recipe. Mercy's dance floor was, to scale, just as packed as The Cannery's had been earlier, as fans entered in droves to groove on faves like "Adult Education," "Maneater" and "Private Eyes." Afterward, a DJ set by Rio and Wild Cub kept things surprisingly vibrant until the wee hours. Backstage, a gaggle of local luminaries lingered starstruck around Chromeo's Dave 1, grinning ear to ear and hanging on his every word. It was quite a sight to behold.

The Mercy/Cannery complex has proven itself indispensable to local nightlife, but last night's festivities have most certainly raised the bar for future occasions.

Hip-hop, Smooved out

We're not going to lie: We were nervous about the Bell Biv DeVoe show at Limelight on Saturday night. See, we really, really like BBD, but never saw them back during their heyday, and have been letting our imaginations run wild for the last 20 years about just how awesome their show would be. We had some pretty high expectations — everybody dancing, the whole crowd singing along to every word, hands in the air, partying like we did, in fact, not care. But we've been burned before by heritage artists — to paraphrase BBD, never trust an old group and a smile. Turns out our imagination was dead on, and any misgivings were unfounded.

Bell Biv DeVoe aren't touring these days — a brief check of their schedule shows they just do one-off Saturday gigs at the moment — and maybe because of that seemed like they were in just as much of a party-down mood as the packed crowd at Limelight. We're of the mind that any party gets better when you play Bell Biv DeVoe songs, and when you have Bell Biv DeVoe actually there to play those Bell Biv DeVoe, there's just no stopping the awesome. The dudes even busted out the dance moves from their classic videos.

As for the music, it was all killer, no filler. Without an new LP to support or some grandiose sense of selves, Bell Biv DeVoe didn't fuck around — they gave the vocal, excited crowd exactly what they wanted: the hits. Not just "She's Dope," "Poison" and "Do Me," but New Edition classics, too — "Candy Girl," "Cool It Now," Mr. Telephone Man." In between tracks, the DJ dropped classic hip-hop beats, so the crowd never really had a chance to get bored. Not that we would have, but you have to appreciate the extra effort. It was seriously close to being the best hour of our entire lives.

Speaking of extra effort, we'd be remiss if we didn't mention the evening's man of honor, 92Q's music director and the voice behind most of our midday listening, Mr. Kenny Smoov, who was celebrating five years with the station. Besides being a super nice dude the one time we met him, he's got killer taste in music and knows how to throw one hell of a party — let's hope these were the first five of many, many years to come.

Enchantment next to the vinyl

By 6 p.m. Monday, the back part of Grimey's was already shoulder-to-shoulder. A couple spins of the new Heavy Cream record later, the crowd had snaked into the new CD section. Magic Kids took an extra half-hour to start, likely due to the sheer volume of stuff they had to get up and running. They aren't the biggest band we've ever seen at Grimey's — Lambchop takes that cake and several more cakes stacked on top of that cake — but they did cram the most stuff into one 8-by-8 space of any band we can recall. All we could think was, "These guys must be awesome at Tetris."

Magic Kids sound like the kind of band that would have inspired the Ramones to do End of the Century with Phil Spector. "Delightful" is probably the least rock 'n' roll word in the dictionary (aside from maybe "mawkish"), but that's exactly what they were. Songs like "Cry With Me Baby," their closing number, came off like what we would've heard from Marty McFly if he hadn't gone whole hog and freaked everybody out at the Enchantment Under the Sea dance. They're retro but with enough sense about themselves to incorporate contemporary pop flourishes and not act like a tribute band. There's nothing we like more after a long day at work than charmingly twee pop songs and free beer, and both Magic Kids and Grimey's delivered admirably on those counts. We would've danced if we had more than a thin inch of personal space, and if our legs hadn't fallen asleep from standing in one spot for so long.

Magic Kids' performance left us wanting more than the half-hour or so of songs they threw our way. It won't be until November that they come back to play at The End, but we wished we had the option of seeing them again after a couple of hours. Before bouncing to catch the beginning of Rock & Roll Trivia at Mercy, we snagged a copy of their album Memphis to tide us over until then.

We heard there might be some secret shows in the works. Rootsy, rootsy secret shows. Email


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