In 2007, Chromatics released Night Drive, an evocative, nocturnal trip that was one of the most striking releases of the year. They visited New York a few times since then, but I never managed to catch them until recently, when they played the weekly Girls & Boys party at Webster Hall. Generally, it's a scene and venue I try to avoid - although Webster used to be a solid venue for relatively large indie bands, Terminal 5 has since supplanted it (unfortunately), and I hadn't been there for ages, generally opting for the more intimate venues.
But the night's lineup, which included Chromatics' Italians Do It Better labelmates Desire and Glass Candy, was pretty irresistible. They all follow the same general template of cooing female vocals, and each band has electronic maestro Johnny Jewel on the machines, making for a pretty consistent bass throb throughout the night. Italians' Mike Simonetti added in a diverse, thumping DJ set in between the bands, which was much appreciated.
Desire started off slow, but quickly hit a midtempo sway, and judging by the cheers, it was a sweet spot. Chromatics built on the vibe with a string of signature tracks: "In The City," "Night Drive," "I Want Your Love," and their heartbreaking cover of Kate Bush's "Running Up That Hill," along with some new ones, suggesting that a new album is imminent. Ruth Radelet's voice was spectacular, and she even picked up the guitar. Can't ask for much more than that.
And then it was Glass Candy, which I only knew through the Balearic "Rolling Down The Hills" and a cover of Kraftwerk's "Computer Love," both from the great After Dark compilation. Thus, I wasn't really prepared for the balloon explosion that accompanied singer Ida No's very active performance. I couldn't help but think that it was more about spectacle, rather than sound, but it was pretty entertaining. See for yourself below:
Being There: Glass Candy's balloon rave at Webster Hall on January 14 from THE CULTURE OF ME on Vimeo.
Rest of the photos after the jump. More at The Culture of Me and Pop Matters.