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Chromeo plays to adoring crowd at Mr. Small's

Dave1 sings a fan favorite at Mr. Small’s last Wednesday. (credit: Christa Hester/Forum Co-Editor) Dave1 sings a fan favorite at Mr. Small’s last Wednesday. (credit: Christa Hester/Forum Co-Editor) P-Thugg plays the keyboard during a Chromeo concert. (credit: Christa Hester/Forum Co-Editor) P-Thugg plays the keyboard during a Chromeo concert. (credit: Christa Hester/Forum Co-Editor)

The lights were dimmed, the crowd was pumped, and two figures walked onto the stage. Someone let out a banshee-like scream of glee and the crowd started chanting, “Chromeo, woaah, Chromeo, woaah.”

With that, the lights shot on and standing before the crowd were Dave1 and P-Thugg — the kings of electrofunk and the creators of the band Chromeo. It was a Tuesday night, Sept. 28, and the band graced Pittsburgh with its presence at the intimate venue of Mr. Small’s Funhouse, an 18th century church turned concert hall. Standing beneath a Catholic-inspired arch, Dave1 and P-Thugg took a look at the crowd and then bowed their heads over their instruments.

Of course, Dave1 and P-Thugg are not the pair’s real names. Christened David Macklovitch and Patrick Gemayel, this Jewish and Arab duo formed the band Chromeo in 2001. The band made its first breakthrough onto the music scene with the worldwide club hit “Needy Girl.” After that, Chromeo developed a tight group of faithful fans with albums like Fancy Footwork and Business Casual.

“How you doing, Pittsburgh? Can you believe this place?” said Dave1. “Can’t believe we’re playing in a church with a disco ball!” Lifting his red leather-clad arm up, he pointed to the disco ball hanging in the middle of the church’s domed ceiling and, chuckling, looked at P-Thugg. With a nod, P-Thugg flipped his white, flat bill snapback around, placed the tube for his talk box between his lips, and it was off to the races.

The opening lines to “Fancy Footwork” caused collective insanity and drew shrieks of joy from the crowd, nearly drowning out the lyrics of the song. “Two step, two step, two step,” chanted the audience. The next line had the audience singing “let her see that fancy footwork, show her you’re that type of guy” in full force. Going off the vibe of the crowd, Dave1 stood to the right of his laptop stand — which was custom-built with a glowing pair of legs in red heels and fishnet stockings where the normal metal legs would have been — and sang his heart out.

“Young boy don’t be late, this girl ain’t really got time to wait,” P-Thugg harmonized. Standing to the right of Dave1, he cut a striking figure throughout the concert. With a matching pair of glowing legs attached to the underside of the keyboard he stood in front of, he faced the crowd looking like a half-man, half-woman, technological LED-lit marvel. P-Thugg stayed behind his keyboard all evening, making music with his synthesizer and coaxing magic sounds from his talk box. While P-Thugg kept it steady, Dave1 hyped it up and played the attentive frontman, giving high-fives to the crowd and picking out adoring, hysteric fans to sing to during songs.

The duo fulfilled and surpassed expectations, playing their fans’ all-time favorites, including “Tenderoni,” “Night by Night,” “Don’t Turn the Lights On,” and “Hot Mess.” Accompanying each song was a dynamic light show that added to the drama of the moment. Green and purple lights reflected off of Dave1’s signature hipster, horn-rimmed glasses during “Needy Girl” and white light seemed to shoot out of P-Thugg’s raised hand as the song came to its end.

Although Chromeo has only been to Pittsburgh a few times, the love this crowd showed the band will no doubt bring it back soon. After the last song came to a close, Dave1 yelled, “Thank you Pittsburgh!” and he and P-Thugg disappeared off stage. The audience, however, was having none of it, and started chanting “Chromeo, woaah” hoping to coax the band out for one last song. This happened not once, not twice, but three times, and — after three encore performances — the crowd was finally satiated.

With one last goodbye, Chromeo left the stage and by 11:30 p.m. Mr. Small’s had regained a bit of its church-like austerity. The road crew came in to disassemble the stage and pack away the glowing legs while lingering fans gazed toward them, hoping to see the red-heeled legs and the kings of electrofunk again soon.