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Review: Toro Y Moi at Ogden Theatre, 11/6/13

Review: Toro Y Moi at Ogden Theatre, 11/6/13
Ken Hamblin III

TORO Y MOI at OGDEN THEATRE | 11/6/13

Toro Y Moi's earliest shows were sometimes poorly received because they weren't what people were expecting. It's safe to say that Chaz Bundick has stepped it up considerably since then, and not just as a songwriter, but as a performer whose former solo project has grown into a powerfully compelling live act. Last night at the Ogden, Bundick and company offered up a kaleidoscopically vivid presentation with crisp, richly layered sounds.

See also: Chaz Bundick of Toro y Moi on J Dilla and reserving his side project for experimentation

Review: Toro Y Moi at Ogden Theatre, 11/6/13
Ken Hamblin III

The finest example of this came at the end of the set with "Say That," a song from Anything In Return that's one of Bundick's best. Here, the atmospheres of the song, particularly the low end, was a dense and a physical force that ensnared you in the rhythm. Like so much of this show, it was pretty much irresistible.

Review: Toro Y Moi at Ogden Theatre, 11/6/13
Ken Hamblin III

This configuration of Toro Y Moi, a five piece band comprised of Bundick on synth and keys, along with a bassist, guitarist, drummer and a piano player, had a real late '70s Stevie Wonder vibe, mixed with the dusky synth-inflected dance pop of late '80s New Order. During "Grown Up Calls," the simple, even hypnotic, main keyboard line created such a moving and soothing vibe that seemed to open up channel into an emotional reservoir that could flow between the musicians and the audience.

Review: Toro Y Moi at Ogden Theatre, 11/6/13
Ken Hamblin III

The band's ability to tap into that dynamic throughout the show transformed what could've been simply a good synth-funk-pop show into something transporting, and, at times, even transcendent. In that way, it was like a kind of psychedelic jazz with James Jamerson-esque bass lines that made it sound so familiar but also so new and refreshing.

Review: Toro Y Moi at Ogden Theatre, 11/6/13
Ken Hamblin III

The languid and lingering flow of bright tones in "Campo" was enhanced greatly by the use of appropriate bright lighting; at times, it felt like you were getting to see some band that would have been playing in some strange late-era disco. Despite recalling earlier periods of music and freely using sounds from across eras, the manner in which Toro Y Moi employs these sounds and ideas is very modern and living, rather than being some kind of throwback.

Review: Toro Y Moi at Ogden Theatre, 11/6/13
Ken Hamblin III

Classixxx opened the show with a song that sounded like some kind of live remix of "Goth Star" by Pictureplane. It was a gorgeous and soothing way to open the set. The guys also performed something of a live remix of "Lisztomania" by Phoenix, but the strongest track was "Borderline," a warm, melodic synth rock/pop song that recalled the more adventurous electronic end of Cut Copy's catalog.

Review: Toro Y Moi at Ogden Theatre, 11/6/13
Ken Hamblin III

SETLIST

Toro Y Moi

Ogden Theatre - 11/6/13

Denver, CO

01. Harm In Charge

02. Never Matter

03. Still Sound

04. You Hid

05. How I Know

06. Campo

07. Elise

08. High Living

09. Studies

10. Grown Up Calls

11. Rose Quartz

12. Low Shoulder

13. So Many Details

14. I Can Get Love

15. Say That

Encore

16. New Beat


CRITIC'S NOTEBOOK

Personal Bias: I've been a fan of Toro Y Moi since the tracks that appeared on June 2009 were coming out, and he has come impressively far in a very short period of time as an artist.

Random Detail: Mark Weaver, bass player extraordinaire, of Widowers and Constellations was at the show.

By the Way: Anything In Return is one of the best albums of 2013. It's a leap forward from Underneath the Pine.