Tosca dives deep into groovy territory at The Indy

Tosca_postBy Steven Wandrey //

Tosca (Live) //
The Independent — San Francisco
March 4th, 2014 //

“Too much excitement for a Tuesday night!” belted out vocalist Robert Gallagher near the end of the set Tuesday. While this was not what the crowd expected from downtempo legends Richard Dorfmeister and Rupert Huber, it’s what they got.

Opening with birds chirping and some spoken word from Gallagher, many attendees were surely fooled into thinking this would be a standard lounge set from the sometimes mellow duo. Perhaps people were looking for a place to go where they could chat it up with a friend, the unfortunate fate of many similar acts. The sold out crowd was on the older side through, and it took some cajoling to get their feet shuffling.

Tosca’s approach to downtempo is true to style, verging on defining it. They quickly brought the room to a lax groove. An early song featured the vocalists repeating the phrase “Looking for light, Looking for light,” however it’s apparent that while Tosca may be looking, they’re not searching very hard, which isn’t a bad thing. The comfort exhibited in this reserved space is emblematic of Tosca’s mastery of the style. Playing cathartic beats that never create all too much angst, the light tension is released with a simple and familiar drop back into lounge-town. The breaks are ambient, peaceful, and etherial, with just the slightest touch of dissonance, making the crowd crave the smooth and expected drops that are easily seen from far away, just the way it’s intended.

After some initial break beats, the ante began to rise, as did the tempo. Then as Brazilian house beats churned forth, the majority of the crowd ceased to talk. While the breaks were still on the relaxed side, never really whipping the crowd into a frenzy, it was clear that Tosca wasn’t here to just stand at the front of a lounge for the night, that they had planned a headlining set. Vocalist Cath Coffey rode the waves of energy that the band provided with the crowd, as Chicago house somehow collided with Austria this night.

An enthused yet still laid back crowd stood pat as the performance came to a close and received a double encore, finishing up with a track unexpectedly bordering on disco house. Although sometimes seemingly preoccupied, very few left the building before the end of a ninety minute show and were treated to a live set with a consistently tasteful, cohesive flow.


  1. Mortimer Foghorn says:

    Boom! they didn’t hold back. I thought it was 2am on a saturday when the show came to its end.

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