On a bone-chillingly cold Friday night, TORO Y MOI took the stage to a sold out crowd at the Comet Club, to support the recently released album Anything in Return. Chaz Bundick is the musical genius behind the soulful, lo-fi songs of TORO Y MOI. He first seduced the world on the release Causers of This and followed by Underneath the Pine, both from Carpark Records. When touring, he plays keyboards and synths, backed by his bassist Patrick Jeffords and an unidentified guitarist (with a moustache and a Rickenbacker). They were acknowledged as “my band” so sorry for not getting the name. Both guitarists have a considerable amount of skill and talent, providing the backbone of rhythm and bass lines that characterize the slow jams and deep grooves of TORO Y MOI.
Taking the stage without an opening act, they began with Rose Quartz, a sexy track off the new album. With keyboards and synth sounds that build up into a full chorus of “uh-huhs” and a repeated sample of I feel weak, it was the perfect thing to warm up an enthusiastic and dying-to-dance crowd. They followed with Say That, the chorus of I’m alright/she’s alright/we’re alright, owes just as much to chillwave and electronic as to late 60s Motown like THE MONITORS and the ISLEY BROTHERS. Chaz thanked the crowd for their “returning faces,” (it is the third show they have played in Berlin) and someone yelled back “Yeah, I want to return my face, please.” The fourth song was New Beat, his most popular single off Anything in Return (part of the featured artists on a 2011 South by Southwest compilation). Other highlights include High Living, Grown Up Calls, and Studies. The show ended with the six minute long Elise and, after applause and catcalls, the band came back for an encore. There was plenty of wah-wah, there was lots of dancing, all types singing along, and there was even a fan boy handing up a CD and marker for an autograph, too sincere for words. In a bleak winter, it was the best place to get down on a Friday night, and imagine yourself warm.