Toro y Moi chills at the Observatory

by Sarah Tanori, Senior Staff Writer

Arriving at the Observatory last Wednesday night to watch Toro y Moi, a few questions were raised.

A pioneer of the chill-wave movement was to perform. Did this chill wave imply a deadpan, hipster performance? Did this imply an equally apathetic, fashion-crazed crowd?

No and No.

Toro y Moi was started by Chaz Bundick through early recordings in his old South Carolina home. In 2010, he released his first studio album “Causers of This” and has been signed to Carpark Records since. Three albums later, the band is now at their latest “What For?” with undoubtedly one of the standout songs of the night “Empty Nesters.”

The performance began and Bundick greeted his audience in his psychedelic pants, bare feet and a meek smile, beginning the show with his accompanying band.

The audience was pretty nuts. It’s always nice to see crowds who are into the music they’re watching but everyone was on the same ecstatic wavelength that night. It was the opposite of what I expected and together with the beautiful instrumentals, it made for an enjoyable dance night.

Not to mention the lighting and optical-illusionesque backdrop during the performance. It was an almost surreal atmosphere. As the musicians stayed in place, the lighting and backdrop seemed to move with the audience. The positive energy of the crowd and surrounding environment made a Wednesday night seem like a Friday night.

Music wise, impressed is an understatement. From the singer to the guitarist, the entire band was in sync instrumentally and they gave off the same vibe: happy. This was what made the audience stay from beginning to end. There were no pauses to speak or signs of restlessness from the performers. Just an energetic bunch who made the observatory a dance party that night.

Toro y Moi’s songs were light-hearted and cute. The audience knew the lyrics in entirety and smiled all along the way.

It is undeniable that Bundick lead the way that night in every aspect. The singer was flawless in transitions and calm in attitude. He made his complicated string of melodies seem easy but once you paid closer attention, his remarkable skill in voice, keyboard and guitar became apparent.

Barefoot Bundick had a humble-cool going on that night. It was arresting and infectious.

He is clearly talented guy who is so committed and so good. It’s also obvious that he doesn’t really act on this hype he gets. Instead, he just absorbs the good vibes and lets that guide him in the music he plays.

And one thing, Bundick is definitely not just the chill-wave king. Last Wednesday proved that chill wave is only a small portion of Toro y Moi’s identity.

Toro y Moi is a band not branded by one label, but a band with members who are committed to diverse and fun melodies. It isn’t a hip archetype that thinks it’s too cool for you, but the group who invites you to eat with them at lunch.