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Toro y Moi Fight Off Rainy Weather with Sunny Music on Friday Night

October 5th, 2015

Toro y Moi – Music Hall of Williamsburg – October 2, 2015

(Photo: Andie Diemer)

(Photo: Andie Diemer)

Toro y Moi defy easy categorization, but that doesn’t mean people haven’t tried. Serving as a moniker for the prolific Chaz Bundick, Toro y Moi debuted in 2010 with Causers of This, a sample-heavy album that sounded little like anything else at the time. But it happened to share just enough in common with other releases that year to be lumped into the chillwave movement, a made-up subgenre that still might not have an actual meaning. Toro y Moi have since resisted being pigeonholed, with each subsequent release falling under a handful of other sounds, a little bit of funk, a dash of indie pop, some dance music and the occasional sprinkling of R&B.

Toro y Moi live are a roller coaster through all of this and then some. Bundick and the band played two sold-out shows last week at Music Hall of Williamsburg, fighting off a cold, rainy Friday with sunny jams. Bundick placed himself stage left on a Persian rug, wearing all white and no shoes, making it easier to work the many pedals needed to call up a variety of sounds. The beginning of the set pulled mostly from the indie-rock spectrum, playing “Half Dome” and the irresistibly catchy “Buffalo,” of their latest release, What For? “Lilly” offered some impressive contrast, starting off with a jagged, lurching synth line that smoothed out for the chorus as the song suddenly melted into enchanting bliss. “Rose Quartz” made the transition into more danceable tunes, leading into a handful of other songs off the house music–inspired Anything in Return. The intensity high-water mark came during “Say That,” an all-out dance friendly banger, which brought out some strobe-light flashes, bowel-punching bass and shaking booties.

Things mellowed out afterward with the funk-tastic “New Beat.” “We have a few more songs,” said Bundick. But then then after a pause, he added, “I messed up. This is actually our last song.” He compromised with the groaning audience to stay onstage and play through the encore, tacking on the sunny “Empty Nesters,” followed by a cover of Unknown Mortal Orchestra’s “Multi-Love” and their own “Yeah Right.” He then chill-waved the audience goodnight, sending them back out into cold and rainy Brooklyn. —Dan Rickershauser | @D4nRicks