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Cherub brings the funk to Legends

| Sunday, September 14, 2014

WEB cherubSARA SHOEMAKE | The Observer
Last Thursday, Legends hosted nothing less than a full-fledged rave as innovative electro-pop duo Cherub brought their Champagne Showers Tour to Notre Dame. The official Legends’ webpage advertised that the duo would be “performing their hit song ‘Doses and Mimosas’ live,” but a diverse set list proved Cherub to be more than a one-hit wonder.

A crowd swarmed in promptly for show time, undeterred by the construction around Legends. The crowd expressed some impatience at having to wait until midnight to see the group, but first opener Gibbz provided a much-needed warm-up with energetic dance beats. A second opener and fellow electronic duo, Ghost Beach, followed up with an ambient yet upbeat style reminiscent of St. Lucia, which mellowed the restless crowd.

When Jordan Kelley and Jason Huber — the two friends and former college classmates who make up Cherub — appeared onstage, it was without the array of synths and computers I had expected. Instead, both wielded guitars with a surprising aptitude. Huber also used an inconspicuous sound pad to manipulate the sounds, as well as a talk box. This is a technique that has been utilized by psychedelic rockers like Pink Floyd, causing me to suspect some totally out-of-genre influences.

The duo opened with “<3,” a deep track off their new album that demonstrated their characteristic avant-garde dance-pop style and scandalous lyrics. Though “<3” is an exception, their lyrics often express a love for partying, which was certainly apparent in their performance style. The band has gained commercial success with straightforward catchy pop tunes, but it was obvious that they saw live performances as an opportunity to revisit their electro-funk roots.

With a well put together set list having ebb and flow, the duo demonstrated versatility by slowing it down with soulful R&B beats, much appreciated by those audience-members who had paired off to dance. The energy was revived with what they called a cover of “Feels So Close,” essentially Calvin Harris’s version with Huber’s vocals and a few guitar notes. By now the audience was completely engaged as its inner layers began to look similar to a mosh-pit. After a few more tracks, the audience was finally ready for the top hits.

Kelley built up the crowd for “Doses and Mimosas,” — the suspense was palpable — but finally gave in and played what the majority of the audience had come to see. As is always the case for a band like Cherub with only a few well-known songs, the crowd noticeably thinned after the hit was played. The rest of us had our loyalty rewarded with an unexpected cover of Weezer classic “Say It Ain’t So.”

Overall, the show was dance-friendly and satisfying, and no one seemed to mind that the majority of the sound was playback. Although after a sampling of songs the audience favorite was still “Doses and Mimosas,” there is certainly more to come from this fun young duo.


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