BEING THERE: Stromae @ The Trocadero

Photo by DAN LONG

The name Stromae is put in front of you the morning of his show at the Trocadero last night, and you’ve never heard of the guy in my entire life. But typing his name into Google and you find out that this man is an eye-opening French pop star whose You Tubed singles draw hundreds of millions of views. His tunes range from poppy songs that make it impossible for you to sit still to ballads that make you cry to without even knowing what he’s saying. Google further reveals a fascinating pedigree. He identifies as French but he was born and raised in Brussels by his Flemish mother. His father was a Rwandan architect killed in the 1994 Tutsi genocide. Standing patiently amidst the way-sold out crowd waiting for a show that will start an hour late, you notice that this isn’t your average fan base for a show at the Trocadero. You see a group of 12-year-olds running back and forth through the crowd with their Gatorades, right next to them is a group of people old enough to be their grandparents. The age divides drop as soon as the music starts, and we are all young and old at once. Coming out with crazy energy, Stromae and his band quickly show Philadelphia how Brussels gets down. This being his first show on his U.S. tour, he obviously had a show-and-prove mentality, keeping the crowd all in as he performed. The guy rarely stopped moving, keeping the party going non-stop with his fleet footwork, costume changes and rear-screen projections. This is the first time I’ve ever seen a sad slow song performed in the middle a pop/uppity music concert without tragic consequences. During his performance of the hit “Formidable” you could tell the crowd was getting a bit emotional. Just when you thought the celebratory mood had been ruined, he turns it back up with his Euro-pop mega-hit “Alors On Danse,” that has people jumping around hard enough to shake the floors. With his impeccable voice, charismatic demeanor, stylish wardrobe and awesome crowd-working skills, I predict that America will fall hard for this fellow. — CLAYTON RUSSELL

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