You know that feeling when you suddenly fall in love with someone so cool. Not just cool, but SOUND too. Quietly confident, good at what they do, not a jock or a cheerleader, but just on their own level, yet floating above the other bores. And you’re at a party and you just see them across the room. Maybe you’re in a conversation circle with them but you never speak. You just look on, not sure why you’re in awe because they can seem all about style one minute, clichéd the next but you just roll with it. Then they go and leave before you pluck up the courage to say hi. They get in their car and they pull off into the city night and you’re left on the porch watching the tail-lights, soaking up the last hour and wondering how you could have made it last for weeks, months or years.
This is the mini-scene that plays through the head the moment Chromatics complete their set to a sold-out Village crowd. The night seemed so fleeting – Johnny Jewel, the prolific musical master behind the Italians Do It Better releases is no Jean Michel Jarre live, keeping the synths to a minimum and the warmly detached Ruth Radelet the perfect focus on stage, backlit by a tall bank of diodes.
As with their album, there’s no letup in the early A.M. empty-city-streets feel and even Kate Bush’s ‘Running Up That Hill’ is a slo-mo ride through the night. Alone, and stuck up the front near the speaker, Chromatics wash over you and once you let go to the style-based approach that they wear on their sleeve they can mesmerise, lift you out of where you are and drop you under glass beneath the streetlights of a Gibsonesque west coast sprawl. They are Norman Rockwell for the petrol-head, cell-phone generation, making a city out of The Village.
Glass Candy are the perfect foil for the evening, allowing a break to digest Chromatics, though Johnny Jewel never leaves the stage. Now it’s just Jewel And Ida No, like a blonde banshee of sorts her singing trails off into screaming and she seems in the moment and feckless as they soup up the sounds to suit a dancey, late night mood and it makes complete sense that they would come on second. Ida is rousing the crowd and full engagement is achieved when she launches herself out for a surf making it most of the way down the room before re-advancing on the stage borne aloft. It seems that the earlier crowd have pulled back a bit and the Glass Candy folk are now front and centre, just the right side of fanatical. As they close Ida reaches into the crowd and pulls up someone she is clearly enamoured with and it happens to be Rupert from Bats. Soon she’s dragging up thirty people and it’s hard to make out her or Jewel amongst them. When this come-all-ye disco machine finally closes with most of the audience now on stage, Rupert is singled out for a soldier’s-goodbye-in-a-bus-station hug. A tender moment to close the beautiful chaos.