Italians Do It Better: The Chromatics Return

by Kelly McClure

Our Portland based writer, Elisabeth Wilson, went to a Chromatics show the other night at Rotture. Here’s what she has to say about it: 

Have you ever loved a band in this really private way where seeing them perform live, although the highlight of your month, is almost painful because having to share them with a room full of drunk assholes makes you feel possessive and violated? That’s how I feel about Chromatics. If that all sounds really dramatic, well, you can just deal with it.

  Friday night, they performed in Portland for the first time in like 2 years, opening for Glass Candy, with Mike Simonetti (of Italians Do It Better) at the turntables. The show was sold out and the warehouse space where they always play kind of had the atmosphere of a can of sardines. Very drunk sardines. With haircuts. I got there around 11pm and Chromatics didn’t go on until midnight, so I had a lot of time to stand around and anxiously swig bourbon from my friend’s flask and try and stay where the air was.

  Chromatics are: Ruth Radelet on guitar and vocals, Adam Miller on bass/guitar, Johnny Jewel on bass/keys, and Nat Walker on drums.Their conception can be traced back to Adam Miller’s Seattle bedroom in 2001 and have undergone a number of line-up changes and transformations ever since–the most notable perhaps being the addition of Glass Candy’s Johnny Jewel.

  They opened with Night Drive, which always makes me wanna have car sex–on leather seats. With lyrics like, “my leather glove grips the wheel/my leather glove grips the wheel,” well, my mind wanders. They performed 7 other songs with equally enigmatic titles like Hands In the Dark and In the City, from their 2007 release “Night Drive,” and my favorite, a new one—Kill For Love. They closed the set with a cover of Kate Bush’s Running Up That Hill.

  Whenever I try and describe their music, the only word that comes to mind is lovesick. Clips from a made-up, late ‘70s movie about desire and broken hearts usually flash through my mind. The characters are young and lonely and on the streets at night looking for love.

[Elisabeth Wilson]


See for yourself:

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