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Toro Y Moi @ Coalition - December 8th 2011
Words and Pictures by www.heymancheckmyband.com
You’d probably be forgiven for expecting Toro Y Moi, playing Coalition as part of the South coast’s ‘Viva La France’, to be another French producer set to carry the electro torch. As a native of South Carolina USA though, with no ascertainable French connection, that’s probably not the case. Aside from questioning the metrics used for choosing Viva La France’s acts, Toro Y Moi’s South Carolinian roots do help explain his part in the much touted ‘chillwave’ movement of Summer 2010 that has helped, and hindered, his career thus far. The reason being that Toro Y Moi and fellow ‘chillwave’ act Washed Out both attended South Carolina University. Is South Carolina deserving of being home of chillwave? Probably not, but it is an interesting coincidence.
2011 saw a change of pace for Toro Y Moi. After being pigeon holed in a short lived musical movement, his need to progress musically was stronger than ever. Gone were the swathes of ambient distortion that filled his chillwave debut In his sophomore release ‘Underneath The Pine’, and then even more in his latest EP ‘Freaking Out’, his first excursion into the fickle world of pop.
Feel good disco took centre stage as the room filled with eclectic synth and a particularly vibrant lighting show. Though his live show was certainly playing with modern beats and production, the 80s resurge Toro Y Moi takes influence from remained prominent in the charmingly vintage piano riffs and funk that saw Chaz’s iconic SEE glasses and high-fade haircut seem even more nostalgic.
Toro Y Moi’s live set still however fell prey to his own progression. The heydays of ‘chillwave’ are behind, much like the other artists depicted at the front of the genre, yet the fans still insist upon its inclusion. The result? A fanbase entirely unprepared for the disco pop show before them. It only took a few songs for the new direction to be accepted by said fans, but as the 80s tinged disco blared, there was a definite uncertainty in the air. Refusing to perform the ‘encore routine’, single’s and favourites ‘New Beat’ and ‘Freaking Out’ saw a raucous end to an interesting, if awkward, performance. Though as the crowd bounced away to the set’s final psychedelic injection, all was probably forgiven.
The intangible awkwardness, was not the chilled experience expected, nor was it a definitive example of his expansion into the worlds of doo wop and disco he’s heading towards. The middle ground in between, unsurprisingly, is hard to understand live. Toro’s relaxed outlook and borderline fanatic hipster following led to an enjoyable night for most. Just one that could be equalled by a good set of headphones or hi-fi. And that, is not what live music is about.
Date: Thursday 5th January 2012