Toro Y Moi at the Electric Pickle, September 18

toroymoipickle1.jpg
Photo by Ian Witlen
Click here to view photos of Toro y Moi at Electric Pickle.

Toro y Moi
Electric Pickle
Saturday, September 18, 2010


Better Than: A foam party in Ibiza.

Columbia, South Carolina's Chaz Bundick is Toro Y Moi and he's trademarked a magical brand of sample-based sentimental synth-pop. Although there are two other members in the band, he writes, records, and produces all of the material. And listening to a Toro Y Moi recording is like sneaking into Bundick's room, reading his diary while he's singing in the shower.

toroymoipickle2.jpg
Photo by Ian Witlen
The upstairs of the Electric Pickle was packed for an hour before Toro Y Moi's set. Long before the first note, the crowd was already jumping. Making its first appearance in Miami, the three-piece crew casually approached the stage. The set up was simple: Bundick on the mic and electronics, joined by a bassist and a drummer.

The set didn't take off with a bang, Bundick started off shy, singing a single note into the microphone and set it on an infinite loop. He kept his eyes down, focused on his voice and his effects. The drums and bass kicked in, adding some life, depth, and power to the normally understated songs. The audience was giddy. People were jumping and dancing and reacting to every swooping sample, every hard hitting beat, and every angelic melody.

toroymoipickle3.jpg
Photo by Ian Witlen
When Bundick finally lifted his eyes from his workstation, he couldn't help but smile when he saw what his music was doing to the crowd. He came alive. Each song became more intense. Planned out or not, the set's ascension sounded calculated, and spun the room into a glow-stick frenzy.

Despite the Club Space scene, a DJ wasn't dictating this thing. A man with heartfelt tunes and an amazing rhythm section were playing real songs with real emotion. When the opening melody of "Low Shoulder" shot out of the sound system, everyone cheered. The band was locked into the leader's hypnotic groove. And it seemed like the entire audience was singing along to a song that's recorded lyrics are indecipherable.

When the haze cleared, Bundick pointed to the smoke machine and said, "I like that. Can I get some more of that? That's cool. This is our last song. It's called 'Causers of This.'" Instantaneously, the crowd groaned at the prospect of the set being over and cheered for the title track of his amazing record. From his shy start to his intense finish, Chaz had given them what they expected, and then some at Get Some.

Critic's Notebook

Personal Bias: I was catching a cold. The warm songs and heavy Vick's Vapor Rub in the crowd were just what the doctor ordered.

Random Detail: Some kid doing a very violent interpretation of the Kid 'N' Play dance as Toro Y Moi jumped on stage.

The Crowd: Fashionable young men, ladies in dresses, older folk, and people who've never left the house. The whole placed seemed to be on ecstasy.

Overheard in the crowd: I hope they play my song. MY SONG!

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