Monday, January 24, 2011

Toro Y Moi Played Mercury Lounge - Pictures, Video, And Review

Last Wendesday we stopped in at Mercury Lounge and managed to catch Toro Y Moi for an early set at one of the city's most intimate rooms. Given that their April dates will see the band at the considerably larger Music Hall Of Williamsburg and Bowery Ballroom, it was really a treat to get to see them one last time in a truly clubby spot. Obviously we weren't alone in our opinion, as the room was packed, and the show sold out from the get-go.

To try and characterize Toro Y Moi's live set in a few words is a difficult task, to say the least. The band manages to simultaneously embody a number of genres, while at the same time defying all of them. There's an unquestionable poppy melody element, but it's balanced by rock solid dance beets. Then there's the wide swath of atmospheric synth sounds, overlaying instrumental parts that verge on jazz at it's best. A comparison to Stevie Wonder at the height of his powers would be apt, but still not really embody everything that's going on.

Regardless, the band's live show is unquestionably rock solid, with a technical precision that's almost unparalleled. The band is, quite simply, locked in to a degree that can only be achieved through diligence, and more than a little bit of raw talent. What's more, Chaz Bundick's vocals are unassailable in the live environment, and are as effortless as they are brilliant.

The show also saw an addition to the band, with a new guitarist on full-time electric duties. While many of the effects were so tripped out that the guitar's sound was barely identifiable, it unquestionably did a lot to fill out the band's sound, and add a new layer of dynamism. The studio complexity of Toro Y Moi's music lends itself to layered parts, and this one was a welcome addition.

The set ended up being a quick one at around an hour, as the band was opening in the 3rd slot of the night (!). Nonetheless, it was a set that more than covered its bases, and if anything just left us hungry for more. We got to hear a bunch of new material from the forthcoming record, and it fit in well with the old material, perhaps even being a tad dancier in its vibe. The fact that the band has two shows on tap for later in the spring is a blessing, as we certainly are more than a little ready to enjoy another night of their tunes.

In addition to some sweet photos of the band's set, we also managed to snag a tasty video (above) of the band's latest single "Still Sound". Given that the show was sold out for quite a while, we imagine there are more than a few New Yorker's who might like a taste, and the sound's not half bad! What's more the band delivered a Daytrotter session (one track below, the rest available for download at Daytrotter) that is absolutely killer. If that's not enough to tide you over until the band's spring dates, well, you better get on the road and start following them deadhead-style.