Chaz Bundick is a quiet dude on stage. As the main force behind Toro Y Moi, he embodies his music’s downbeat tendencies. At last night’s Bowery Ballroom show, Bundick moved swiftly through a set with cuts from both his debut, Causers Of This, and his recent second release, Underneath The Pine. There was little banter with the crowd, with Chaz (and his three on stage helpers) preferring to bring the funk-yet-somehow-disco sound with few pauses.
The show started off with a lot of energy, as the foursome came out (amidst screams of “I LOVE YOU TORO!” and “MARRY ME CHAZ!”) with its recent single, “New Beat.” Bundick’s voice translates well to the live setting, despite being a slightly higher pitched when used on the spot. After the electric opener, it was a nice blend of old and new for Toro, all of which got the crowd dancing (or whatever the indie hipster equivalent of dancing is). At one point in the set, two of the members from Braids (more on that band in a bit) came into the crowd and started a mini-dance party among the audience, most of which (including myself) were both shocked and amused to see them there.
Before joining the sweaty contingent on the floor, Braids performed what is quickly becoming one of the better live shows to come out of last year’s CMJ Music Marathon. As has been previously covered, the Montreal foursome specializes in bringing its excellent debut, Native Speaker, to life with little loss in quality from the studio. Lead singer Raphaelle Standell-Preston and keyboardist/backup vocalist Katie Lee had great rapport, shouting lyrics to one another while boogieing in unison. As the group wrapped up its set with an as-of-yet-unreleased (and absolutely gorgeous) track titled “In Kind,” the crowd showed its appreciation with one of the louder ovations I’ve heard for an opening act yet.