Jonwayne, Shlohmo and Toro Y Moi
House of Vans
July 11, 2013
This summer has been an incredibly busy summer with increasing responsibilities at my day job and tons of shows, interviews, and other things for this website. So as you can imagine, I’ve been desperately trying to catch up and stay current with everything – with some rather middling results here and there. But back in July, I was at House of Vans to catch Toro Y Moi. Interestingly, I only caught about half of Toro Y Moi’s Afro Punk Festival set last year because as a photographer, I had to run back and forth to various crowded photo pits to take photos. But I was so impressed that I had to catch them again. (I wound up going with a fellow blogger Kelly Knapp of Best New Bands, and she wrote about the show with some of my photos here: http://www.bestnewbands.com/live-reviews/item/3258-toro-y-moi-is-for-lovers)
The night’s opener was Jonwayne, an artist who has collaborated with the likes of Homeboy Sandman and others. Backed by just a sampler that pumped out the beats he would be rhyming over, his set was eerily sparse and at times anxious, as though capturing the racing thoughts and paranoid observations of someone who’s on the verge of a nervous breakdown. At times the material displays a morbid fascination with violence is simply for the sake of violence. But at other points, his set felt unfocused and unprepared – his set ended somewhat abruptly because he didn’t have any other material to perform. it was both strange and disappointing because when he was on, especially during a point when he was freestyling, the man had the room enraptured by every syllable.
Shlohmo’s set was honestly a set that I found at times kind of boring – his sound was drum and bass but to me it kind of lacked a dynamism and complexity that would have captured my attention for much longer. But I spent my time drinking free beer and chatting with various people, including a photographer two I’ve run into numerous times at shows across the city. (it’s a super small world, after all.)
The night’s headliner Toro Y Moi played a set of silky smooth post punk which possessed elements of the synth-based 80s R&B, funk and spaced out dub. And as ead vocalist (better yet, the act’s creative force), Chaz Bundick coos to you with a seductive falsetto, you feel compelled to dance – preferably with a pretty young thing. But if you’re by yourself that’s okay, too. Within a few songs, the crowd turned the House of Vans into a sweaty dance club. What a fun time to end a summer night!
Toro Y Moi
For these photos and a few more, check out the Flickr set here: