Toro y Moi emerged at the Fox Theater Oakland last weekend with a charming aura of confidence he communicated through his beaming, mile-wide smile. Just one week after his 27th birthday, Chaz Bundick looked happy to be home, celebrating belatedly amongst his East Bay friends, family and fans. Traveling non-stop throughout 2013 promoting his critically acclaimed third studio album Anything in Return, Bundwick embraced the local love Friday at the band’s final West Coast date of their tour. Following an electronic amuse-bouches of a set from Los Angeles-based DJ duo Classixx, Toro y Moi wasted no time continuing the dance party already set in motion by the opener.
Jumping straight into back to back tracks off the 2013 release, Toro y Moi got the crowd immediately moving with Anything In Return party-starters “Harm in Change” and “Never Matter”. The enthusiastic audience immediately responded, singing and bobbing along to the band’s funky signature style. Heavily influenced by jazz, two-step and elements of deep house, Toro y Moi’s live show usually highlights the group’s steamy R&B tracks and chill-wave dance favorites. Riding off of the energy of the nearly packed house though, saucy songs like “High Living” and “Grown Up Calls” remained on the set list but we’re revamped into much harder hitting, fast paced jams. Pulsating baselines, heavy synths and disco percussion filled the air, amplifying the groove-induced venue into a hot mess of pheromones and funk.
The theater’s general admission area got real sexy, really quick and only further intensified with Chaz Bundick’s intoxicating vocals and penchant for extended live mixing. By the time the opening notes of the set finale “So Many Details” drifted across the crowd, the audience had fully ignited. The climactic bongo crossed over into a psych-rock jam, playing out as a testament to Toro y Moi’s genre-bending capabilities and incredible aptitude as musicians. Showcasing the diversity of the band’s material, Chaz Bundick exhibited his expertise as vocalist, producer and overall center-piece of Toro y Moi.
Nowhere near ready to call it an evening, the packed venue screamed the band back onstage for a dance-heavy encore. Featuring club banger “I Can Get Love” off the 2011 EP Freaking Out, along with two more newer cuts, Toro y Moi kept the party going for a full hour and a half set. Growing leaps and bounds since we’ve last seen him during his First City Festival set and Noise Pop showcase, Chaz Bundick seems to have truly come into his own as an artist.
Rounding out the rest of their current tour at festivals and in Europe, it would be wise to catch Toro y Moi while they’re still playing mid-sized venues comparable to Fox Theater Oakland. Chaz Bundick shows no signs of slowing down — he has branched out already into several dance side projects and he’ll continue to produce as Toro y Moi. A natural born tastemaker, he has predicted and influenced what is most likely the next wave of dance music to break through to the mainstream.