It’s no secret that the center of attention for this year’s Noise Pop Festival was Toro y Moi. Fresh off the release of his critically acclaimed new record Anything In Return, Chaz Bundick and his band held The Independent captive Friday and Saturday night for two sold-out shows.
Trading in a chance to play a larger, less intimate venue proved to be well worth it, both for the fans and the band. The Western Addition venue lived up to the task of providing a great landscape for Toro y Moi to play out the fuzzy, synth-laden funk that the band has become so well known for. Starting out the night with “Rose Quartz” from the new record set the tone perfectly as he fell straight into hits from Underneath the Pine. The band slowly worked back into the new material to close out the night.
The orange and blue light projected onto the soft, cloth-like pieces of fabric onstage only added to the warm musical textures. Toro’s vibe is undeniable—he’s probably done more than any other act to represent and expand the subgenre “chillwave”—and his show and demeanor provide proof of that.
Each time I see him, I am more impressed by his energy and the cohesiveness and thickness of the band: the rhythm section, in my opinion, is the key ingredient to the success of the live show. The bass player’s free-forming movement between notes, mixed with the snappy and lumbering drums drive the music with great depth, which allows Chaz to drop down bristly synths, along with his soft-spoken voice that has become another key to both his sound and his success.
Throughout the night, you couldn’t help but catch Chaz trying to hold back a smile. He seems to be enjoying his recent success and his surroundings in the Bay Area. One cannot help but think that the sound he creates, paired with his apparent humbleness and gratitude he seems to carry, tends to attract a certain group of people. The crowd never seemed uneasy or restless, or even annoyed by their neighbor—rare for a completely packed, nearly-impossible-to-move venue with air as thick as the Sahara. Each member of the crowd seemed to only be interested in feeling the groove, singing along and dancing to nearly every track. It was a highlight in a week full of memorable moments at Noise Pop.