Gangsta they are not, but Chester French still had no problem getting the crowd amped at the One Giant Step x Steve Madden Intimate Performance Series in New York last week! The up-and-coming duo played an acoustic, albeit short, set for familiar fans, as well as those who came to check out the band due to the strength of their recent mixtape, Jacques Jams Vol. 1. The line stretched about a block beyond the Lower East Side Steve Madden space, which had been tricked out for the event with an open Svedka bar, adorable logo water bottles, and a stylish DJ with a fro who remained nameless. A mix of hip-hop aficionados, indie boys with long hair, and college aged girls who were madly in love with bandmates D.A Wallach and Max Drummey, the crowd was anxious to see if the duo could live up to the Pharell-approved beats on their just dropped album Love The Future.
Rest assured ladies, Chester French definitely did not disappoint! Starting the set off with a stripped down version of their much buzzed-about single “Jimmy Choos” (even MTV featured it). Dedicating it to the girls who don’t rock J Choos, but do rock “nothing but Steve Maddens!” (hey, Steve Madden himself was in attendance at the show, you know the dudes had to thrown in a couple of pluggs here and there!), D.A’s voice sounded just as strong as it does on wax. The crowd swayed along to the surf rock tinged jam– almost everyone knew all of the words! Following up with their ode to groupie love, “Bebe Buell”, the boys hyped the crowd up by demanding crowd participation (you know I was chanting “Oh!” as loud as I could). Turning away from the fans inside at one point to perform for the 40+ people still lined up outside the venue and watching through glass windows, guitarist Max Drummey’s pared down acoustic version of the swing style jam was mellow and allowed me to focus on the irony behind lyrics like “you’re my Puerto Rican Pamela Lee”.
Stopping to tell the tale of their rise to fame, D.A. reminded the fans that music is a medium to be shared no matter the cost, and urged everyone to “get with the Endurance movement!” and download their mixtape off of their website. Of course, with the mention of the word “free”, the crowd went wild. D.A. sipped a bit of water before looking out on the audience. With a sly smile on his face, he pulled a girl standing in the front row up onstage and sat her down for a serenade of their most popular jam to date “She Loves Everybody”. Their acoustic rendition of the song about a Girlfriend with some serious Daddy issues was shockingly haunting, highlighting the song’s free-flowing melody.
Finishing up their set with the country-infused “Painted Veil”, Chester French definitely won over some new fans that night, proving they were a lot more than just hype. D.A’s hilarious on-stage persona, and Drummey’s clean guitar riffs are sure to keep the boys in rotation, and on Star Trak, for a long time to come!
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