Last year's film Drive, the neon noir boiler starring Ryan Gosling, may have stalled at the box office, but its visual appeal, the tough-but-golden-hearted leading man, and the arresting synth-pop-laden soundtrack have made a lasting impression. Just ask the young man standing front and center at Club Congress, decked out in a replica of Gosling's signature satin jacket with the ubiquitous scorpion on the back.
The Drive Tour features three foreign electro-disco acts associated with the soundtrack that have collaborated over the past few years.
Playing first at the all-ages, near-sold-out show was Canadian male/female duo Electric Youth. (Yes, their name is taken from the Debbie Gibson album of the same name.) In front of a backdrop displaying their logo, which wouldn't have looked out of place in a Zinka sunscreen commercial circa 1988, the two played a flawless 45-minute DJ set. Lead-singer Bronwyn, whose endearing vocals made the Drive soundtrack's "A Real Hero" a sleeper hit, was reduced to cheering boyfriend Austin on while he played the tunes, occasionally twisting a knob here and there. It was definitely a head-scratching moment when he played "A Real Hero" as the second song—and she wasn't singing.
Up next was Anoraak, which, as a trio, played signature airy and heartfelt pop for well more than an hour. Songs about lonely night drives and lost loves mirrored the themes of the film beautifully. A friend of mine leaned over and whispered, "Is this the new yacht rock?" While the boys may be from France, you can't help but imagine the hazy sunsets and the easy-breezy lifestyle of Los Angeles.
College, aka David Grellier, also from France, finished with a nonstop, no-frills DJ set that would have made Giorgio Moroder proud. College's brand of disco is straight-'80s synthesizer arpeggios, analog bass and enough climaxes to bring out your inner Teen Wolf. The surprise of the night was the reintroduction of Electric Youth's Bronwyn, who this time did lend her vocals to "A Real Hero"—and I got the feeling that's what the crowd was there for in the first place.