Chromatics

Royal House, March 24

Low attendance and massive overreach hindered this nascent indie-rock festival. On the plus side, the Royal’s cool carnival setup (including a Ferris wheel), friendly staff, awesome sound and first-rate bands (even if the groups leaned toward the Pacific Northwest synth-pop end of the musical spectrum) suggest that this fest could eventually work. Case in point: Chromatics played a vibrant and totally pro set. “Back from the Grave,” “Candy” and “Lady”—all from the band’s forthcoming, ferociously excellent disc, Kill for Love—simmered in their cold, calculated, electronic glory. Singer Ruth Radelet sounded like nothing less than a beautiful Blade Runner replicant melodically lamenting her persecution for computer-related crimes against humanity. Like all the other bands gathered at the Royal, Chromatics proved Pastel had the better taste in bands, but inferior directorial skills. ★★★★☆

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Bela Fleck & the Flecktones

Concerts

Bela Fleck & the Flecktones

By Jarret Keene

“It’s cool being the first to play this place,” laid-back banjo wizard Bela Fleck said during his incredible opening set. While not technically accurate (Randy Travis had already serenaded the facility’s construction workers, followed by a gala of performers ranging from John Fogerty to Jennifer Hudson), Fleck and his band certainly made The Smith Center’s official opening week something special.

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