Not so dead on a Monday night, Toro y Moi and Toxie rocked Mr. Small's like it was 1999. Well, sort of.
Toxie, an indie band based out of Memphis, opened the show on July 15, setting a dreamy, grungy tone with passive yet pretty vocals and guitar riffs reminiscent of Joy Division. The downtrodden melodies and female front man playing for the sea of girls in high waisted cut offs, same-sex couples discreetly holding hands, and the young couple expecting a baby gave the air of nonchalant cool that I was hoping for at this show.
Not even 15 minutes after Toxie cleared the stage, the crowd was chanting “we want Chaz” over and over as if they had been waiting for him to perform for years. And perhaps they had been, after all it was his first time performing in Pittsburgh.
Toro y Moi, aka Chaz Bundick, is usually a one man act, but to my delight and surprise he was backed by a guitar player, bass player, and drummer while he supplied the vocals, the keyboard, and synthesizer for Monday's show. The songs took on a fuller feel with instrumentation that seamlessly replaced some of the machine made beats and synthesized sounds typical of a DJ set but without completely compromising the original composition of the songs. Not a single person in Mr. Small's could help but move to the funky, chill sounds supplied by Chaz and company.
Toro y Moi came in with the chillwave a couple years ago, and while that music fad has faded, I believe Bundick is here to stay. On tour for his latest album, Anything in Return, he proves that he can still lay down chill tracks but now with some minor house elements thrown in. Somehow things sound fresh yet familiar, a hard feat to pull off. He’s cognizant of what makes for good showmanship and is focused on taking his style to the next level, down to each of the many details.