Reviews > Shows
Toro Y Moi in Toronto
Photo by Andrew Dubinsky
Toro Y Moi
The capacity crowd at Lee’s Palace was as collectively attractive as it was calculatedly hip. Befitting the bedroom-electronics on tap, there were slews of bespectacled and bright-lipsticked ladies eager to glimpse the easy-on-the-eyes Chazwick Bundick – chief composer and architect of Toro y Moi. Backed by a trio in fully fleshing out his solo studio creations, Bundick was in his element – typically busying both hands with different keyboards and samplers, while fluently relaying his super-chill vocals.
One could easily argue that Bundick’s emblematic style has only improved over the course of three records, and the brand new material from 2013’s Anything In Return LP supported such assertions from the outset. “Rose Quartz” opened the proceedings, laying on a thick veneer of sexy dance propulsion. “Harm In Change” was soon to follow, the integration of samples and live instrumentation blessing the (relatively) heavy track. With simple sets of vertical folding blinds lit up behind him, Bundick’s stage production was spartan and his musical attack express.
The precision of the supporting musicians’ parts was profound, their professional approach ensuring that Bundicks arrangements were nailed. The off-kilter lead guitar line of “High Life” saw Jordan Blackmon swaying side-to-side while Andy Woodward punched out a syncopated rhythm. Blackmon next coerced a grungy solo over Woodwards fat, slow-motion breakbeat in “Studies” before Patrick Jeffords smoothly rendered the satisfying nu-disco groove of “Elise” – one of the handful of songs that featured brief-but-badass instrumental bridges. Jeffords would later shine with spongy bass supporting the video game-like arpeggiation of “I Can Get Love.”
”How I Know” – driving, dreamy rock with baroque tinges – begat “Grown Up Calls” and, soon enough, it was time for the most accessible material of the recent crop. The Anything In Return single “So Many Details” drew a hearty audience response, and “Say That” bubbled with electronic force – pulsing strobelights and Bundicks cascading keys dramatically capping off the set.
With his sharply organized tunes, effective lighting, and an array of synthesized sounds that scream 1980s dance music, Bundick more closely resembled the high production of M83 than “chillwave” contemporaries like Washed Out or Ducktails. Most crucial of all, Toro y Moi put on a seductively intrepid performance, carving out stately middle-ground between heady dance music and stylistic ingenuity. The members of the crowd wouldn’t hesitate to tell you that they returned home just a bit cooler than when they had departed.
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