Les Sins hypnotizes his fans at The New Parish

Les SinsPhotos by Alister Mori // Written by Paul Ronas-Tanner //

Les Sins with Taraval, DJ Nina Sol //
The New Parish – Oakland
August 19th, 2016 //

There was something special in the air as soon as I got off Bart at the 19th St. Oakland station — and I am not talking about the recreational drugs or the food stands that were all around me, but rather the electricity that resonated with all the people who rushed out of the train eager to get into a club or bar within walking distance. Anywhere on Telegraph Ave. where you could buy a drink had a line that started blending in with the establishment next to it, which continued on for blocks. On this night, it seemed like Oakland was the place to be.

As I walked up 18th St. toward The New Parish, the positive vibes must have started kicking in because I quickly got excited for an act whose music I had never heard before. All the laughs and big grins I must have encountered at the Bart station made me just want to have a good time with some good people, but little did I know how much my fun I really would have.

I put a little more bounce in my step and hurried to the destination where lucky for me, the line was moving quite well. The marquee said “Les Sins” in big font. From the music I could hear outside the venue, I couldn’t help but two-step the moment after I walked through the door. Maybe it was the positive vibes I felt walking briefly around in Oakland, but I took my time looking for my friends.

Occasionally stepping in and out of small groups while dancing to the opening DJ, I couldn’t help but notice that everybody was moving, too. From the coat-check girl to the bar backs, it was as if someone had put a spell on those in attendance to forget all of their problems and genuinely enjoy the night. There were some people with rhythm and some with absolutely none, but all of us were living in the moment. Arms were flailing as people reached for the ceiling, and souls, well, they were definitely being touched.

Les Sins

I have been to Electric Daisy Carnival (EDC), Outside Lands and numerous clubs where I had to be intoxicated just to feel the music (disclosure: I’m more of a R&B and hip-hop fan), but this wasn’t it. This was exactly your typical EDM, but rather a soulful mix of them all with an old-school feel and nostalgic samples. I felt as though they took the classic hooks and breaks my older sisters and father used to play and brought them to the forefront by mixing it with more of a modern club sound. Even though some may refer to chillwave as “downtempo pop,” it can give you an uptempo feeling that makes you forget about time. At The New Parish, the room was filled with a multitude of colors and cultures that all moved to the same beat, like we were one life form.

Wanting to get some fresh air, we stepped outside to converse and found a few connected bars in the courtyard, which if you were not feeling the vibe, could go to and still feel like you were apart of the scene. We decided to catch the rest of Taraval’s opening set, and we hurried back to the second balcony to watch the Canadian composer, musician and DJ work his magic on the crowd.

As we made our way up the stairs, we came back to two DJ’s onstage, with the other being the night’s headliner. Les Sins is the alter ego of Chaz Bundick, best known as the brains behind indie-rock stalwart Toro y Moi, and standing side by side, the two artists dropped harmonious beat after beat that complimented each other’s style before Bundick took over, transitioning seamlessly into his headlining set. As if I were having a flashback of a past weekend in Vegas, I subsequently went into a trance and let the music take over my body. And with a drink in my hand, I decided to dance the night away.

Some DJ’s can play music throughout a night and they would all sound like one track, but when it comes to Les Sins, you can feel the difference in every mix. To my surprise, Bundick hasn’t played as many Les Sins shows as he has with Toro y Moi, which made this experience feel somewhat exclusive. Following that night at The New Parish, I can proudly say that I have subscribed to both Les Sins and Toro y Moi; when I’m driving to work or getting ready for a night out on the town, putting on Bundick’s music in one form or another helps me relive what proved to be a magical night in the East Bay.

Show of the Week // GO4FREE to Les Sins at The New Parish 8/19 (FRI)

Les SinsWritten by Brett Ruffenach //

Les Sins with Taraval, DJ Nina Sol //
The New Parish – Oakland
August 19th, 2016 //

Chaz Bundick is a busy man. Between writing music for his solo-project-turned-rock-band Toro y Moi, touring around the world in support of their most recent album What For? (read our community review here) and even taking that band to the Trona Pinnacles to record and release their own Pink Floyd-inspired album Live From Trona (watch the live film here), it’s hard to believe Bundick has the time to work on his electronic side project Les Sins.

Conceived in 2010, Les Sins has evolved into an excellent expansion of Bundick’s musical tastes, filling the gaps between a quirky indie-rock singer-songwriter and a foot-stomping electronic producer. His debut LP under the Les Sins moniker, Michael, was released on his own Company Records in late 2014, led by the album’s infectious single “Bother”.

As a DJ, Bundick blends familiar elements of French electronic, pop, house and 90’s hip-hop to create a rhythm guaranteed to keep your body moving. On tracks like “Grind” and “Why”, he demonstrates a deep understanding of how pop, soul, house and disco can mix together, creating a familiar, yet unique sound. Having seen both Toro y Moi and Les Sins perform in the past year, I’d take the latter any day.

This Friday, Les Sins pays a visit to The New Parish in Oakland for a DJ set with support from San Francisco’s own Taraval, a recent signee to Four Tet’s Text Records (you can listen to his debut EP Streetways here), and DJ Nina Sol, an Oaklander known for her eclectic sets as well as her genre-bending style. Tickets are available for $25, or you could win a pair of tickets by submitting your full name and email below.

Contest ends this Friday at 3 p.m.

Follow Showbams on Twitter for more contest giveaways throughout the week. Be the first to respond to our contest tweets to GO4FREE to these shows:

IdleFox: August 16th (TUE) @ Brick & Mortar Music Hall
Chuck Mosley & Friends: August 18th (THUR) @ Great American Music Hall
The Coathangers: August 19th (FRI) @ The Independent
Glen David Andrews: August 19th (FRI) @ Brick & Mortar Music Hall
The Muffs & The Rubinoos: August 20th (SAT) @ Slim’s
Panic Is Perfect & Dangermaker: August 20th (SAT) @ Great American Music Hall
Vetiver (Mollusk Moods special trio set): August 20th (SAT) @ The Chapel


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Les Sins get The New Parish grindin’

Les SinsPhotos by Justin Yee // Written by Molly Kish //

Les Sins with DJ Cali, DJ Dials //
The New Parish – Oakland
February 26th, 2015 //

Chaz Bundick is a man of many monikers. Known best as the “chillwave” movement ambassador and talent behind Toro y Moi, he also has ventured out into the world of experimental electronic music as both Sides of Chaz and Les Sins. Last week as part of the Noise Pop 2015 roster, the Bay Area was treated to a rare, live Les Sins set at one of Oakland’s most intimate venues, The New Parish.

Supported by opening acts DJ Cali and DJ Dials, Bundick delivered a late-night performance on the venue’s main stage for a sold-out, Thursday night crowd. While it was kind of a mixed bag as far as the attendance went, the audience took a minute to warm up to what most definitely wasn’t a simple Toro y Moi DJ set. Something Bundick had alluded to in the Noise Pop “Song Exploder” podcast earlier that day, Les Sins have always meant to be a completely separate project in which Bundick can explore obscure electronic soundscapes without alienating his Toro y Moi fan base.

Les Sins

Delving into funky, house-driven tracks off his 2014 release Michael, Bundick had the audience either feeling compelled to nervously check their watches and reconsider their weeknight curfew or giving into Les Sins’ infectious grooves. Many of those in attendance couldn’t help but indulge in Bundick’s quirky, trip-hop samples, soulful piano riffs and R&B synth hooks, filling out the dance floor while some crowd members even found their way onstage.

Not even taking the stage until about 11:30 p.m., the show was intentionally scheduled for the late-night music fan. Once those who were committed settled into their dance space, the venue exploded into a funky house party that extended into the early a.m. hours. Intermingling his own material with disco classics, 90’s pop jams and dirty trap beats, Bundick had the crowd on fire and easily could have prolonged the party well into the after hours had there been the option to do so. And by ending the evening with “Working,” the lead single off of Les Sins’ 2014 full length, he really had the venue raring for more by the end of his set.

Although Les Sins haven’t alluded to any new material coming out this year, fans of Bundick will be able to catch him on tour as Toro y Moi starting at the end of this month with a new album dropping on April 7th. But knowing this man’s proclivity to keeping himself creatively occupied, something tells me it won’t be too long before he gives us another taste of his electronic expansion.