CHBP: Chromeo, Akimbo, The Hold Steady

7:30 Since I couldn’t convince my friend to catch Jaguar Love we took a break from the music and decided to eat some food and check out Chromeo.

Chromeo pumped up the crowd with electro-dance-pop that was easy to bust a move to. The duo consisted of a guitarist who also sang lead vocals and a DJ who played percussion on two tiny high hat cymbals and a row of cowbells and sang into a vocoder. They also had a light show, which was odd since the sun was shining and they were playing outdoors. Light show or not, the group delivered the dance beats and lots of people in the crowd could be seen getting their drunken groove on, so a good time was had by all.

8:00 The last time I saw local hardcore band Akimbo live was four years ago at the UW when they opened for the Blood Brothers and Pretty Girls Make Graves. At that show they nearly destroyed the small stage they were performing on and their bombastic guitars had me shielding my ears. Saturday on the Vera Project stage the sound levels were a bit quieter, but the energy was still there and Akimbo showed the crowd why they are such an awesome mainstay on the local heavy rock scene. Akimbo is pure metal.

At one point Akimbo bassist Jon Weisnewsky called out all of the people in the crowd who were watching Fleet Foxes earlier.

“I know I saw some of you checking out Fleet Foxes. That’s a sin,” he said.

Ouch! Calling out Fleet Foxes fans who jump from folk-rock to metal during a festival. Gutsy, yet extremely endearing in a heavy metal manner.

9:00 By this point in the evening I had already tossed back a few PBRs as well as a couple of gin and tonics in anticipation for what I expected to be the set of the weekend (at least for me) by The Hold Steady. Maybe it’s t he alcohol talking, but I was not disappointed.

The Brooklyn group not only sings narrative-driven songs about partying, drinking and partying some more, they also sings songs about the aftermath of those nights spent drinking and partying and drinking some more. The Hold Steady is after all a band that sings a song with a refrain of “I’m gonna walk around and drink some more” that is repeated several times, which means they are best experienced inebriated. So I figured when in Rome …

Hold Steady vocalist Craig Finn was all smiles throughout the bands way too short set (I think they played for less than an hour). He waved his arms, hopped around and clapped along to songs. His enthusiasm as well as his gesticulations made The Hold Steady’s set, which was heavy on material from the group’s new record “Stay Positive,” a blast.

I remember drunkenly singing along to “Sequestered In Memphis,” “Chips Ahoy,” “Party Pit,” “Stay Positive” and about six other songs. The Hold Steady, a band that will likely always be in rotation on my iPod, easily stole the show from all the other main stage bands that performed during the second day of CHBP.

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