Concert Review: Toro y Moi in Chicago 2.19

February 21, 2013 1 comment

(Chaz in his comfy post show clothes, thanks to my +1 @murphyae)

Hey guys it’s me Anna I think I almost have finally maybe caught my breath after exchanging words with Chaz the other night. You’re probably wondering if I made him laugh when I told him he was signing my receipt for a free growler of craft beer. He did. I did not, however, get around to telling him that he is one of the markers on our MJF Gentle Scale. Next time.

I usually don’t do this but uhhhhh I’m gonna try to write without sounding overly fangirl.

I saw Toro y Moi at the Metro in Chicago this week. It was my first time ever seeing the band live after a couple years of missed opportunities (imagine if i posted about Chaz on Craig’s List). There is absolutely nothing better than seeing a band or artist at the peak of your obsession, and that my friends, is precisely what I experienced last night.

When you’re hopelessly devoted to an artist do you really have expectations for a live set? They’d have to be like…Ashlee Simpson bad for me to notice. Anyways, I wished and prayed to Beyoncé to hear “Cola,” in person but that was really all I considered prior to the show.


The way I described my fellow concert goers while the opening acts were playing in the note on my iPhone was, “yeah, we’re calm.” Seriously, I have never seen a bar function so smoothly and everyone was just SO NICE. Chaz’s gentle vibes must lead to sweet fans.

I’m short, therefore, being in sold out crowds can be a little stressful but there was no shoving, even when we smoothly worked our way up close (expert tip: follow the waitress carrying a tray of drinks through the audience). The girlfriend of a BFG also didn’t give me mean looks when I asked him to take pictures for me, he sucked at taking pictures, though.


Very basic, but I mean, Toro y Moi does not need much else besides their instruments. I’m pretty sure the backdrop consisted of some blinds, like on a house, that had different colored lights shining on it throughout the show. They might have been projected or real or both, does it really matter? What matters is Chaz looked adorable in a button up tucked into khakis and his trademark Ben Franklin glasses. Keep doin’ you, Chaz.


Honestly, Chaz’s voice sounds 99% accurate to his studio recordings, and that’s pretty remarkable to pull off his falsetto with such great consistency (sideeyes Frank Ocean at the Grammy’s). Just remembered how big Chaz smiled when someone said to him, “You’re gonna win a Grammy,” omg blushing, okay back to the set. While Chaz is the FACE everyone associates with Toro Y Moi, he’s assisted by a band when he performs. He is not like the guy in Mary Poppins stuntin’ playing like 8 instruments at once, unfortunately. I know I’m dropping so many bombs on you, relax, you’ll be okay. The band consists of a drummer, bass player, guitarist who also played keys sometimes, and Chaz worked the keys/synths (beat making thingys).


The set began with the lush, “Rose Quartz” off Toro’s latest release, Anything in Return. I referred to it as “the song that goes we ee doh we I feel weak” in my notes. There was no banter or intro, they just went for it. When the music started we were instantly teleported out of the Arctic Chicago winter into Chaz’s tropical cabana. I was kind of far back at the beginning but we could still see his adorably perfect afro bopping along to the beat. The energy throughout the set was a constant and there was not a moment where I felt any sort of boredom. It’s possible I was hypnotized by Chaz but that is being looked into, will let you know my test results later.

At one point I remember stating, “this would be a great concert to come to with your boo thang,” but then after further consideration I realized it would be a TERRIBLE concert to come to with your sig otro because the whole time your partner will be feigning for Chaz. This probably applies to guys too, judging by the way I saw the fellers taking in the music with their silly white boy dance moves. White boy dance moves are strongly encouraged at the Toro y Moi concert, especially ones inspired by the video for “Say That.”

HOLY SHIT does “So Many Details” GO live!!! As soon as those sensual notes began the room transformed into the mellowist dance party ever. I think I decided during “So Many Details” that Chaz does a lot of “Charlie Browning” on stage, correct me if I’m wrong, fellow viewers. “Grown Up Calls” also sounds brilliant in person. There were extended jams in certain songs that made them so much better, which ones they were will be a mystery because I was too busy enjoying to take proper notes. Chaz didn’t say much inbetween songs, I know I heard him say “Chicago” at least once and “Thanks” multiple times but beyond that, nothing too deep.

I really wanna tell you guys more about the setlist but my problem with Toro y Moi is ever since I first heard Causers of This I always found the music to be highly cohesive. This means that I typically listen to the album in full and I am TERRIBLE with the track names. In terms of setlist/album coverage last night I do believe majority of the songs were from Anything In Return. Although, there were dashes of both Underneath the Pine and Causers worked in there.

Alas, despite my attempt at starting a “Cola” and then a “Cake” chant during the cheering for the encore I did not get the honor of hearing either at my show (nor did Jessie at hers in NYC, what of it, Chaz?). I believe the encore was “Say That” but again, my memory is quite hazy. Regardless, it was an unbelievably blissful concert and I never wanted it to end, nor did the entire venue. When it was over most people just stood there like…’Now what?’ instead of booking it into the coat check line (expert tip 2: never check your coat, ya dummy).


In my time of standing dumbfoundedly after the show I started talking to this boy who was trying to get a setlist. He was sad because it was nowhere to be found. We were discussing bars to go to after and then SUDDENLY Chaz walks back out, and boy did I gasp. The champions and I who still happened to be in the room walked up to Chaz and he was so kind and sweet and perfect and an angel so he started signing tickets, answering questions, and taking pictures. I was greedy and took advantage of all three. When I asked him to take a picture he said, “Of course,” and smiled but we were separated by a gate…lucky for him. After the best picture on the internet happened I floated home from the Metro and somehow landed in my bed.

All in all, SEE TORO Y MOI when they come to your city. You will not regret it. If you’ve never listened, the concert will turn you into a stan, no question. One of the better shows I’ve seen in life. The synths were soaring, the bass lines just right and there was musical chemistry happening up on that stage–which is always a pleasure to observe. Chaz and the band were all sorts of darling and cool and the sound was just so remarkably close to the album, albeit the right amount of tweaked to keep things interesting and not come off robotic. Toro y Moi is going beyond the chillwave brand it’s become widely associated with on the internet, this was evident on the album and even more clear after seeing the show.

Hope this review found you well, sorry for my side thoughts, let me know if I did a good job containing my fan girl.

Read Lloyd’s Review of Anything In Return (SPOILER: he liked it).