Review: Toro Y Moi at Crescent Ballroom

When most people think of funk, James Brown and the 1960s come to mind. Fifty years later, Chazwick Bundick keeps the spirit alive through his stage name, "Toro Y Moi." 

Bundick returned to the Crescent Ballroom in downtown Phoenix on Wednesday night for the first time since playing the venue last March. As his following continues to grow, it was no surprise that he played in front of a sold-out crowd.

After Phil Jones opened the show under his musical moniker of Dog Bite, the crowd happily anticipated the imminent funk. The mood of the crowd often serves as an adequate parallel to the music, and Wednesday night was no different. Casual grins turned to exuberant beams as the headliners took to the stage.

Toro Y Moi, mostly known for its synthpop and chillwave sounds as heard through its first two albums, introduced more funk and R&B in its recent album, "Anything in Return."

Chaz delivered a departure from past shows by including a full backing band while playing through a set consisting mostly of the new material he was so eager to promote. After swiftly entering into "Rose Quartz," the band captivated the crowd and incited some creative dance moves in the venue. He seamlessly transitioned from song to song without much conversation, and the dimly lit stage filled Crescent with flashes of blue and red.

However, as the set progressed, the songs began to transition so smoothly that the crowd lost much of its energy and attentiveness. This did not seem to faze Bundick, as he remained stationed between his dual synths at the center of the stage.

As the band concluded its set with a heavier dose of old material, with the new single "Harm In Change" sprinkled in, it finished strong and left the audience wanting more. After a two-song encore, the show wrapped up relatively early, allowing concertgoers to hop on the light rail, in their cars and on their bikes to head home on the weeknight.

Toro Y Moi proved to be a night of dancing for most in the crowd, and the sold-out venue definitely added lots of energy and heat to the ballroom. It must be noted that Phoenix served as the "guinea pig" for the band as it returns from Europe and begins a two-month North American tour.

As more people continue to listen to Chazwick, Toro Y Moi will continue to demand a larger venue for Phoenix. Look for the band to sell out Crescent again or even move up to a larger space like Marquee Theatre when it returns.


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