Toro Y Moi at Detroit Bar Last Night

Mi Tran / OC Weekly
Chaz Bundick of Toro Y Moi
Toro Y Moi with Cloud Nothings and Braids
March 22, 2011
Detroit Bar, Costa Mesa

What a difference having a live backing band makes.
Chaz Bundick, also known as Toro Y Moi, has been making music as a solo artist for the past few years, touring and playing shows, just him and his instruments. Recording music on your own is fine, but when it comes to performing in front of an audience, being by your lonesome onstage seems rather bland.

Bundick's sound has diversified over a span of just two full-length
albums. The first one, Causers of This, contained synthesizers,
keyboards and samples and was dubbed “chillwave” by music critics and

For his latest release, Underneath the Pine, the sound has evolved into something totally different than the album before it. The retro-inspired release seems reminiscent of the disco era of the '70s, with live instruments added in to the mix.

The sound was apparent last night at Detroit Bar. Bundick appeared onstage with a guitarist, bassist and drummer. The band played in front of a white tarp with a projection of what
looked liked amoeba floating and swimming in bright shades of pink,
green, blue and purple.

The old-school vibe of the show seemed to go well in the packed bar. The band started out with “New Beat,” a song about remembering a lost love. With heavy bass riffs and synthesizers going off, the crowd, comprised mostly of twentysomethings, swayed back and forth.  

Perhaps it was a very late set on a Tuesday night, but the crowd remained rather calm and quiet during most of the performance. A mixture of popular songs from the new and old albums (such as Still Sound and Talamak) got people dancing again, with a few throwing their hands in the air.

Bundick was quiet during the set, stopping in between songs to thank the opening bands and say how hot it was in the tiny venue. After the hourlong set, much to the crowd's disappointment, the band did not do an encore. The majority of the audience remained near the stage, hoping the band would come back, but gave up as the music and the house lights went on.

Despite the lack of an encore, Toro Y Moi played a fleshed-out set with a good mixture of old and new songs. The songs sound even better live with the addition of the backing band, and they seem to be evolving musically.

Personal Bias: I don't think I was the only person bummed out when they didn't play crowd favorite “Blessa.”

The Crowd: Hipsters dressed in their best thrift-store clothes with dark-rimmed glasses.

Overheard In the Crowd: “Is that the drummer?” “I don't know. They all look alike to me.”

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