Toro Y Moi, Young Magic, Bayonne @ The Teragram Ballroom, LA 11/9/15
On the second-to-last night of their US tour, Toro Y Moi’s band took the stage to William DeVaughn’s “Be Thankful For What You Got” before launching into “Half Dome” and “Buffalo,” a pair of taut jams from their latest album What For?. Chaz Bundick has said the latter track pulled him out of a writer’s block and set the tone for the collection. It’s hard to imagine Bundick with writer’s block, though. Since we met him on Myspace in 2009, the South Carolina multi-instrumentalist has shared five disparate studio albums (one as his dance alter-ego Les Sins) and a couple of experimental mixtapes, along with various indie rock remixes and celebrated rap track features. Those project-to-project aesthetic changeups weren’t as noticeable inside downtown LA’s newish Teragram Ballroom last night. Alternating between synth and guitar from his stage-left perch, Bundick led a career-spanning set that made room for Elephant 6-style indie-pop (“Run Baby Run”) and dancefloor-friendly psych (“Say That”) alongside longtime fan favorites like “New Beat.” The soupy arrangements mean Toro’s live sound has more in common with say, Tame Impala, than the other retro fetishists of the pre-SoundCloud music web.
The sold-out night was part of 30 Days In LA, Red Bull’s second annual month-long music festival taking place at venues around the city. When a doorman stopped me to inspect if I was wearing the night #9 wristband, he explained that some concertgoers held onto previous nights’ bands because they were trying to collect all 30. That seems a little nuts to me, but if you’re gonna see 30 shows in a month, you can do worse than a roster that includes Grimes, TV On The Radio, Vince Staples, and Tinashe. These shows also give out free snacks to early arrivers, plus door prizes like posters and pins, and post-show bags of chocolate chip cookies. I left with a Toro Y Moi prayer candle, which I will use to pray for more cookies.
Sometimes the lineup pairings for these Red Bull Sound Select shows are curious (I once saw Ryley Walker open for Beach Slang), but the Austin artist Bayonne was fitting support. He was until very recently performing under his real name Roger Sellers … so recently that the festival was still using that on its signage. But in introducing his self-described “strange music … loopy kind of shit,” the electronic composer said this would probably be his last show billed as Roger Sellers. Convulsing and twirling behind a table of carefully arranged equipment, Bayonne overlapped manipulated piano samples and nature sounds with looped live drumming and vocals. It made for some surprisingly exhilarating and cinematic one-man IDM, with elements of post-rock and folktronica. His album Primitives will be re-released under his new moniker on Mom+Pop next year. Brooklyn’s gothic R&B duo Young Magic rounded out the bill with cuts from last year’s Breathing Statues.
You can check out photos from the event in the gallery above and the full 30 Days In La itinerary here.