Chrome, live in London

Proto-industrialists dial down the synths and show their rock side

Crowd shot
(Image: © Katja Ogrin)

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Formed in San Francisco in 1975, Chrome originally revolved around the nucleus of Damon Edge and Helios Creed. Since Edge’s death in 1995, Creed has taken it upon himself to revive and head up the Chrome project. The group have a key place in the electronica timelime, with early material such as 1979’s Half Machine Lip Moves fusing synths and guitars to create a dystopian, American electro-gothic that’s similar to Joy Division but more agitated and turbo-charged.

Techno-heads might be disappointed by the somewhat rocky treatment the group mete out to old material such as Danger Zone, the analogue synth sounds barely evident amid the clouds of guitar and dry ice in which the behatted Creed and company heave obscurely like ghosts in the mist. The chrome, it seems, is but a veneer, beneath which lies a different kind of metal. Those here tonight of a certain age lap it up like a steam bath (glancing around at some of the pates in the audience, the conjoining of ‘Chrome’ and ‘Dome’ begs for some pun).

Highlights include a heavily worked-over version of 1981’s In A Dream, the storming, anthemic Third From The Sun and the concluding Firebomb, in which, at last, the electronica comes into its own as the band blast off into the rafters on raging chariots of reverb.

David Stubbs

David Stubbs is a music, film, TV and football journalist. He has written for The Guardian, NME, The Wire and Uncut, and has written books on Jimi Hendrix, Eminem, Electronic Music and the footballer Charlie Nicholas.