A few minutes past midnight, a tall figure clad in all white jogged onto the stage at U Street Music Hall, waving to the cheering crowd below. After two fantastic opening acts (the talented Lance Neptune and Roland Tings), Jeremy Malvin, aka Chrome Sparks, was finally live.
After greeting the crowd, he jumped right into his first tracks, accompanied by his drummer. The pair opened with songs from Chrome Sparks’ earliest and lesser known EP, My <3, seemingly gauging who in the audience was a true ride-or-die fan, and who was simply there to hear his hit single “Marijuana”. Against a backdrop of a colorful electronic mosaic screen, Malvin danced along to his own beats as he stood at the helm of the soundboard, clearly sharing the audience’s enthusiasm and energy for the music. Occasionally, before starting on the next track in the setlist, Malvin would lean into the mic and greet the crowd, who whooped and whistled in response. At times, members of the audience would yell out song requests (mostly for “Marijuana”), but Malvin continued with his own preprepared lineup, saving his much sought-out, most popular single until almost the end of the show. I’ve never observed as much excitement in a small, packed room of strangers at 1:30 AM as when Malvin finally started to play the opening beats of “Marijuana”, and hearing the song live was every bit worth the wait.
Malvin closed the show with a special surprise – playing unreleased tracks from his newest project, which featured a unique array of instrumentals, including xylophone and acoustics. When Malvin eventually stepped off the stage, he left the crowd cheering and murmuring with exhilaration. Overall, Chrome Sparks gave an incredible, if sometimes unexpected, performance. In combination with a live drummer, listening to the songs was an experience entirely different from, and much more exciting than, listening to his (still amazing) studio recorded versions.