Toro y Moi hit the stage at a sold out Great American Music Hall last night, mostly trading in his dreamy lo-fi for danceable bass grooves.
The set was kicked off with the freshest single “New Beat.” Tellingly, that’s exactly what the night was about.
Toro’s last album, Underneath The Pine, was released a little over a month ago. It largely swaps the blissful sound-scapes for a more digestible, but less exciting, danceable rock sound.
Solo mastermind Chaz Bundick now shares the spotlight with a full band, some friends he employed to help create a better live environment. And while a full crew looks better on stage, his sound suffers a bit.
The shining, obviously very produced, melodies and effects of his first album – the ones he got famous for – get watered down in the instrumentation. They aren’t as sharp, or as a captivating; the fantasy element drifts away.
He still plays the songs, though. “Talamak” and “Blessa” were translated early during the short set, and as an encore they played “Minors,” which was happily eaten up.
On the other hand, switching it up was a good move in the long run. The sound dubbed “chillwave” isn’t bound to last, and touring as an indie solo artist isn’t made to, either.
While the show wasn’t exactly amazing, sounds were too garbled at points, performance too sleepy at others, people danced. They didn’t seem to mind the new sound, it’s easier to move to anyways.
One of the opening bands, Braids, also needs to be mentioned. This Canadian band of two guys and two girls layers multi-part harmonies with percussion rhythms that are made to pierce your soul. They make artful use of their many, many effects boards, but still keep it very real by making live samples.
They didn’t get tangled in all their cables though, their sound was on point. Musically, I think they overpowered Toro last night.