Chromatics at Park West 5/31/19

The anticipation for a new Chromatics tour was extremely high when they finally announced shows earlier this year after a 5 year hiatus from the road. The show in Chicago sold out rather quickly, but I was able to get in to see the dream pop masters for the first time in person. I showed up later than I’d anticipated and missed the first opener entirely. To my surprise, after the show was set to start the line to get in was still around the block.

Once in, I knew that making it to the front would be an impossible task, so I tried to find a fairly centered view of the stage that didn’t have anyone standing in my way. That lasted all of five minutes, but I was still as pleased as I could get with the situation. The pictures below illustrate the color and lights of the show, but in no way fully display how amazing Chromatics sound.

It was a weird show right from the beginning. They open with “Tick Of The Clock,” which is a fine song to open with, but this crowd was already getting restless, and by the time the song ended some people in the front were getting into it. Now, I don’t know how big of an asshole you have to be to get into a fight at a Chromatics show, but apparently there was one big enough to throw a punch. By the third song the show had to be stopped twice, with Johnny Jewel coming to the mic to try to settle things down before calling security over to have one of the people removed.

After that it was pretty smooth sailing. I finally got to hear “Kill For Love” live and got a free t-shirt because it was Johnny’s birthday (purchase something from the merch table, grab a free shirt!). There were no surprises in the setlist, which was okay with me. They’ve done the same set every night, including some old songs and of course their latest single “Time Rider,” and their covers of Springsteen, Neil Young, and Kate Bush.

The feeling in the room after the early commotion was pretty chill. Everyone seemed to enjoy the selection of songs and I didn’t hear any complaints that they didn’t play this or that. The band (Jewel, Ruth Radelet, Adam Miller, and Nat Walker) showed a lot of professionalism dealing with the issues they faced at the beginning and put on a great spectacle of synth wave, ethereal pop music.