Chromeo and the Cajun

Courtesy of the MFAH
Where's Jacques?
We know the Starbucks Mixed Media Music Series at Museum of Fine Arts, Houston is the place to see and be seen for Houston hipsters. But within minutes of entering the second installment on Saturday night, the only person that really made a valiant effort to be seen (among the 3,000 people) was a rogue Captain America-esque looking dude, dancing by himself.

It was peculiar sight, to say the least - a somewhat short guy with frizzy strawberry blonde hair and a scraggly beard wearing a navy blue cape, a red white and blue wrestling uniform, arm and head sweatbands, and white rhinestone-encrusted sunglasses (over prescription glasses, natch).

Although it was just 30 minutes into the party, Austin's Prince Klassen and the oh-so-hip Ceeplus were already dropping some pretty dope tracks (including Hot Chip's "Over and Over"). But the liquor hadn't really set in for most folks, so the dance floor outside was mostly vacant, save the boogie-oogie patriot.

To beat the heat and the lack of dance-tastic action, we made our way inside and mingled with friends for while. Later on we spotted the caped crusader standing alone in the thick of the crowd, so I prodded him with some questions. What's his story?

His name is Jacques, and he's here for one reason — the night's headliner Chromeo.


Chromeo comes from the French-Canadian city of Montreal, Quebec. Dude has a French name, I asked if he was from Montreal. "No. I'm from Lafayette, Louisiana. I'm a French Cajun." Ah. What's with the outfit? "It's all for Chromeo," he re-emphasized. Because I hadn't seen him hanging out or talking to anyone, I asked him if he traveled to Houston alone. "No, I brought my little brother with me." I asked if his little brother was embarrassed of his big brother. "He's used to it." Obviously.

After the brief conversation, we made our ways inside to the exclusive VIP section located on the second floor, where by day, the museums curators and board of directors buzz about their business. Besides the open bar, we were treated to delicious catered food, including chocolate pound cake, croissants, cheeses, fruit, and bite-size sandwiches. We mingled amongst members of the nights performers, including headliner Chromeo, Spain Colored Orange, and the Waxploitation DJs, as well as fellow media people and hanger-on's. Ah, the taste of success.

We stayed here for most of the night. We listened to Waxploitation drop steamy deep funk tracks (including the direct source of N.W.A.'s "Express Yourself") and watched Spain Colored Orange's set from the comfort of an air-conditioned room overlooking hundreds of show-goers. We finally decided to go outside for Chromeo.

Dave 1 and Pee Thug hit the stage with a live drummer. Dave 1 strapped on his clear flying V guitar, the gangster-looking, wife-beater-wearing Pee Thug inserted a black hose of the voice box into his mouth and the band kicked off the night with a funky new number, and followed with "Woman Friend" and "Rage!" off their 2004 album She's in Control. The crowd really started getting into it, throwing devil horns into the air. They laid out "Needy Girl" and the instrumental "You're Go Gangster," replete with the sampled sax solo, and "She'z in Control," before breaking into a cover of an '80s song that I can't recall the name of or who even did the thing. This made the crowd go crazy. To keep the crowd pumped, Dave 1 got the crowd into a little call and response:

"R-I-P O-D-B!" he said.

R-I-P O-D-B!" we responded

"R-I-P R-J-B!"

As we began the response, he cut in. "Wait, who is R-J-B?"

The crowd said nothing.

"Rick James, Bitch!"

And then, like something out of a sweet, wet, funky dream, Chromeo busted into "Give It To Me, Baby." Although we never saw our pal Jacques after our brief conversation, the song made everything in the night connect. He was our Rick James for the night — a white, Southern, French Cajun Rick James. --Travis Ritter


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