Toro y Moi Finds a Home

September 15th, 2011

Toro y Moi – Webster Hall – September 14, 2011

(Photo: Jen Macchiarelli)

Making a third stop in NYC in the calendar year, Chaz Bundick and band, aka Toro y Moi, finally found a rightful home at Webster Hall. First and foremost, the place is a dance club just waiting for an appropriately sized party and, playing live, first and foremost, Toro y Moi is a dance party looking for a place to happen.

With both a new LP earlier this year (Underneath the Pine) and a brand new EP (Freaking Out) out just this week, there was plenty of material for Bundick to choose from to get the crowd moving, and on Wednesday night the party was certainly happening. The lights coupled with the all-important smoke machine to complete the scene. A lava lamp projected on the backdrop seemed to act like a mood ring for the band’s various emotions: greens signaled the mellow chillwave grooves and red, blue and purple meant it was time to boogie.

The opener, the up-and-coming trio Unknown Mortal Orchestra, worked through material from their impressive self-titled debut. In the live setting, the weirdo, prog-rock excellence got swallowed a bit by fuzzy, scintillating distortion, but no matter. Early in the set, songs like “Thought Ballune” seemed ready to explode into some 20-minute freak-outs, but were instead reined into tight Hendrix-Experience-esque jams. Their prog-meets-punk style was on full display on “Nerve Damage,” which combined a slick Steve Howe guitar riff with a visceral power-trio middle. Closing with “How Can You Luv Me,” UMO showed more breadth, getting into a Fender-bass driven pocket groove that was a perfect leave-’em-wanting-more way to finish. This band is likely to be unknown for only so long. —A. Stein