Where were you last Thursday? If the answer isn’t, “Rocking my face off at the Toro Y Moi concert”, then boy did you miss out. Luckily for those of you who couldn’t make it out to the House of Blues last week for Toro’s stop through Houston, I’m here to tell you all about how awesome it was.
First off, in case you’ve never heard of him, Toro Y Moi is Chaz Bundick, a 26-year-old college grad who is usually associated with being a pioneer in the “chillwave” genre. But besides that, Chaz has a number of side projects that range from experimental sounds to indie rock. He’s been making music since high school, and got signed to Carpark records shortly after graduating from the University of South Carolina with a degree in graphic design. Toro Y Moi has released two EPs and three full-length studio albums. This most recent tour was in an effort to promote his newest album, Anything in Return, which was released last January and well-received by old and new fans alike.
The concert at the House of Blues on October 10th would be my second time seeing Toro Y Moi this year. I was surprised to hear that he would be gracing us with yet another performance, since it was only last February that he played a show at Fitzgerald’s along with Dog Bite and Wild Belle. I really enjoyed his show and the bands he brought along tour with him, so I was especially excited to see what Chaz had in store for us this time around. When I first got to the venue, there were already quite a few people forming a crowd around the stage. Although the House of Blues is not my favorite venue, I would soon come to appreciate the high stage and large GA area as it began to get packed. I had done a little research on the night’s opening act, Classixx, and found that the band consisted of two long-time friends and DJs. I was curious to see how the dance-pop duo would handle the growing crowd. Unfortunately, I missed the first half of their set while having to run around the venue looking for my lost phone and keys. (A huge thanks to the House of Blues staff/security for helping locate and return those to me in time for me to enjoy the rest of the show.) However, I did get to catch some of their more popular songs such as “Holding On”, “I’ll Get You” and even a cover of Drake’s “Hold On We’re Going Home” – definitely my favorite from their set. Overall, Classixx was able to get the crowd up and dancing despite their relatively simply set up.
After about half an hour of waiting, it was almost time for Toro Y Moi to come on. Before that I had gone to the bathroom (By the way, did you know there’s a personal attendant in there? She put the soap directly in my hands, ya’ll – it was crazy.) and by the time I made my way back to where I was at I had to squeeze through what was now a completely packed room. Finally, Chaz and his band hit the stage, and with no introduction went straight into “Harm in Change” off of Anything in Return. “Harm” is arguably one of the catchiest songs on that album, perhaps in part due to the infectious repeated sample that is reminiscent of a 90s dance hit. It was a great way to start off the show, and it got the momentum going for their next song from the same album, “Never Matter”. Equally catchy, this song was really fun to hear live with the added drums, keys, guitar, and bass. The band went on to play songs from Underneath the Pine, including the instrumental “Divina”, and the tour-only single “Campo”.
Most of the songs came from Anything, with the band taking minimal breaks in between. The mostly electronic sounds in recorded studio songs translated amazingly well into the live setting, thanks to fun and interesting improvs from the band. At one point, a fan threw his gold chain at Chaz and he proceeded to put it on and play a few songs with it, asking “Is this real gold?” A high point for me during the set was when they played “Rose Quartz” (also the newest video from the band), followed by “Low Shoulder” from the first studio album Causers of This, then “So Many Details” and finally one of my favorite songs “I Can Get Love” off of the EP Freaking Out. The order in which those were performed provided a perfect buildup and created an incredible energy throughout the crowd. After that chunk of songs, Chaz addressed the audience and said, “Houston, you guys are always awesome… It’s nice to see the fan base get this large…” and thanked everyone for coming out. He announced the last song would be “Say That” – a definite crowd favorite with a down-right funky beat. It would have been a great way to end the show, but not as great as everyone shouting “Encore!” and calling them back for two more songs. After a brief absence from the stage, Toro Y Moi returned to the face the not-yet ready to leave fans and played the slow jam, “Cola” and finally ended their show with the beloved track “New Beat”.
I stayed behind with a few friends to try and catch Chaz for a quick meet and greet, and after about 20 minutes he made his way out to the merch table and was immediately surrounded by cameras and permanent markers. He posed for pictures, signed autographs, and joked around with fans. He was just as nice and down-to-earth as I remember him being when I met him at Fitzgerald’s eight months prior. In fact, he might just be one of the coolest and genuine artists/people I’ve had the pleasure of meeting. I thanked him for the awesome show and left the venue with a smile on my face and the hope that he would come back to see us soon.
Watch the newly released video for “Rose Quartz”
Dayra Gonzalez is the host of “Sessions”, Thursdays from 6-7 PM
By Dayra Gonzales