Five years removed from touring, Chromatics returned with a triumphant display of synth pop prowess.

Chromatics at Observatory North Park by Rick Perez for ListenSD



Featuring principal Chromatics songwriter Johnny Jewel and drummer Nat Walker along with singer Megan Louise decked out in full latex, Desire crafted the atmosphere that would be present throughout the night. Their brand of synth-pop, when compared to Chromatics, comes across lighter and breezier with an equal focus on thumping synth lines. Their synth-drenched cover of New Order’s “Bizarre Love Triangle” and certified banger “Under Your Spell” warmed up the crowd and got everyone dancing.


Chromatics were one of the pioneers of the early 2000’s darkwave synth-pop sound that crept into seemingly every TV show, movie, and radio station. While the genre’s omnipresence has been diminished, Chromatics’ music still has the ability to take you on a journey. Even though there has been sparse music from them since, even including the destruction of their Kill for Love followup Dear Tommy, Johnny Jewel has been busy at work releasing various solo albums and lending his expertise to movie/TV scores. In a live setting, their music weaves its way into the ears of the audience with singer Ruth Radlet’s hypnotizing voice reverberating throughout the venue. Seeing Johnny Jewel on stage bouncing around on his keyboard clearly ecstatic to play shows again gave an uplifting vibe for the show.

Jewel’s Italians Do It Better record label was in full showcase in everything from the expertly designed and curated merch booth, to the cinematic visuals. The label has the great ability to have a brand that is unique and knows how to present itself and differentiate from other labels. As the openers were also label mates, its continuity was clear in the imagery and sound that emanate from them all.

At the end of the night the crowd was left mesmerized and with only one question, “Dear Tommy When?”

Photos by: Rick Perez
Review by: Eduardo Rozen


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