After months of unbridled, shameless hype — due no doubt in no small part to in-house talent booker Drew Mischke’s unhealthy obsession with the band — Montreal-based electro-funk duo Chromeo’s first ever visit to Nashville finally arrived last night.
We arrived to find the room already half-packed, with openers Telephoned already well into their set. Composed of one female singer and one guy in the producer/DJ role, Telephoned, a self-confessed cover band, was offering up garage-step-flavored interpretations of various dance-floor favorites — though, honestly, The Cure’s “Friday I’m in Love” and a Chromeo ditty were the only ones we recognized. Frontwoman Maggie Horn’s volatile pitch control (or lack thereof) had us at times second guessing our whereabouts. A few times we blinked our eyes, almost swearing we’d been transported to fooBar’s karaoke night (not a good thing). The budding crowd seemed equally disengaged, with their chatter at times rivaling the volume of the band.
Fortunately for us, our fashionably late arrival meant a shorter Telephoned set and a sooner appearance by Holy Ghost!. By this time, elbow room had become more and more scarce, the lines for the bathrooms barely worth braving and PBRs were flying over the counter so fast the staff could barely keep them cold. Meanwhile, Holy Ghost! soon 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 an eager mob of kids, cats, chicks, dudes, hipsters, bros, bags, baguettes and everything in between. Judging by the reaction, 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’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 the band’s renditions of faves like “Adult Education,” “Maneater” and “Private Eyes.” Afterward, a DJ set by Rio and Wild Cub (Keegan DeWitt and web impresario Michael Madrid) 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.