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Toro y Moi y Vancouver, live at the Biltmore

Photo by Jon Vincent
Photo by Jon Vincent

Chaz Bundick, the man behind Toro y Moi, was at the Biltmore last week with Astronauts, etc., a band signed to his record company, Company Record Label, providing the world with North Carolina’s grooviest bands ever. Calling Toro y Moi North Carolina’s grooviest band might even be an undersell to the fact.

With Bundick’s recent LP, What For?, there was emphasis on organic sounds and conventional instruments that his previous album, Anything in Return, was not known for as much as it was for being one of the most powerful statements on chillwave pop. As Bundick’s fourth album under his Toro y Moi moniker, it was not a surprising offering when one considers his back catalogue. Although his name is commonly known for its association with chillwave, his earlier works reflected elements of the alternative folk groove as felt in the early aughts release of June 2009.

The spinning geometrical pattern that decorated the wall behind Toro y Moi at the Biltmore anchored his psychedelic set. In fact, when mixed with his classic songs, the melodious What For? was effortlessly woven in. The transitions from the span of records that “Buffalo”, “Talamak”, and “New Beat” reside in were cohesive and fluid. It just went to show that although Toro y Moi’s records have all occupied headspaces continents apart from each other, the distinctive magic of Toro y Moi is there in the beautifully crafting of emotional tones and pop sensibilities, always with a wry and sensual groove.

As in his photos, Bundick’s relaxed charm gives a refreshing impression of the man himself as he has a face that always appears to be smiling. There is a saying in Chinese that is similar to this, to describe a person’s look when they are resting. In essence, Bundick has the opposite of resting bitch face. Although Bundick does not exhibit the showmanship muscle, such would not suit his style, as he interacts with the crowd by piping tunes. The crowd enjoyed feeling entranced, as could be sensed when no one budged one step to make room. From the silent and stylish to the tipsy nerds who know what’s up, this was a captive audience.

View more photos of Toro y Moi at the Biltmore here.