Reviewed on Thursday March 9
Synthesisers have been all the rage the last few years in live music. However, having a synth player who practises, has a creative output, and is willing not to look so bored that they might just fall asleep in front of an audience is apparently getting tougher to find. Cue tonight’s opening act Skull And Dagger, who proved that drowning your microphone in delay while trying to look really obscure and creative is just not what most crowds warm to.
Felix Lush, on the other hand, were a surprise packet for the night, with the vocalist donning a straightened blonde hairdo that would have made anyone jealous back in the ’80s. While they were down a band member and had a fill-in bass player for the night, the band launched into an array of moody and heartbreaking songs with a punk-like backbeat from a drum machine. With their closing track ‘State Of Mind’ fresh in the ears of those waiting for the main act, it was clear that Felix Lush have a bright and interesting future ahead of them.
Chaz Bundick’s elaborate take on the live powerhouse Toro y Moi has now become nothing short of incredible, and this was reflected in the reception he received as he walked onstage with his touring band. As he launched into first cut ‘What You Want’ from his latest record What For?, Bundick’s psychedelic undertones and newly acquired distorted guitar mixed with a range of samples. His bongo player killed it throughout the set, while crowd favourite ‘Still Sound’ brought the funk and kept it there for a good six minutes, with jazzy jam intervals in between.
A reimagined take on the Godfather theme kept audiences captivated, even though Bundick remained almost silent for the entire set. Even without talking to the crowd, he led the band into beautiful ballad ‘Grown Up Calls’, before closing out with an extremely danceable ‘Rose Quartz’, as the crowd screamed a soulful “I feel weak” over lush and detailed instrumentation.
Hungry for more, the fans stuck around for an overwhelming encore of everyone’s favourite ‘Say That’, with its repetitive and infectious choral soul sample getting under everyone’s skin. As the strobe lights onstage added an amazing end to a great live show, it was easy to see why Toro y Moi has been so successful over the years. The fusion of jazz, punk, funk and anything else you can think of has led Bundick to the recognition he so surely deserves.