While the Vans House Parties are only beginning to warm up this summer, headling act Toro Y Moi, the chillwave project of Chaz Bundick, brought the heat—literally. The overcrowded venue was sparse at times due to people trying to escape the stifling heat in the skate-park-turned-stage. But they kept coming back.
Having released his third album Anything In Return earlier this year, Toro Y Moi incorporated several tracks off that LP into the set, with a handful of older tracks sprinkled throughout. Beginning with the pop-friendly “Rose Quartz,” Bundick’s energetic, pelvic-thrusting silhouette humorously cut through green lights, while his fingers blazed across the synthesizer. Bundick’s cool lyrics “And if I fall/Into the sea/Don’t let me go/Because I feel weak” exemplify the surreal yet highly emotional ideas that could warp a crowd’s vibe from a light, laid-back atmosphere to a heavier and harder one. Transitioning into the older “Talamak,” Toro Y Moi brought up the energy level, with House Of Vans beginning to resemble a glorified version of a Brooklyn warehouse party. Many crowd members began shaking their bodies to the music, while others bobbed their hands up and down in sync with the beat. All around, the audience manifested a physical representation of their appreciation for Bundick’s auditory craft.
Bundick demonstrated the force behind his music through the instrumental intricacies stretching through the set, with tracks such as “Never With You” and “Still Sound.” Amidst the chaotic sounds of the synth clashing against the dissonance of the electric guitar and drum beats, the lights added another level of disarray to the atmosphere. Seizure-inducing spectrums of blue and red bewildered the crowd. As the lights shifted to a club-esque purple glow, Bundick took on a slower, more sensual persona that complemented his funky piano and synth riffs. Audience members grabbed themselves a partner and moved slowly to the bluesy sound of “High Living.”
After breezing through a good twelve crowd-pleasers, Bundick finally received a somewhat negative response when announcing the final song of the night. Midway through Toro Y Moi’s closer, “Say That,” several cheers and whistles encouraged Bundick to play harder and faster. The closing lyrics “We’re alright/we can’t go back” perfectly summed up the feeling of the crowd: Despite a final misstep, Toro Y Moi played a show that everyone was glad to have seen. With this knowledge in mind, crowd members left the venue in blissful peace after Bundick said in his cool, schoolboy-ish manner, “Thanks y’all, take it easy.”