Tucked back in the cluster of buildings that line Walnut Street in Philadelphia is a nightclub concert venue called Coda. Known for hosting DJ sets among other types of shows, electronic artist Toro Y Moi–also known as Chaz Bear, but whose real name is Chadwick Bundick–played on Saturday, Jan. 27.
Toro is a 31-year-old singer-songwriter and record producer who is known for his role in promoting the chillwave sound which features escapist lyrics and dreamy, hypnotic slow beats. Chillwave is a microgenre that sprang up in 2009 and is one of the first of its kind to have originally been established on the Internet.
Toro is biracial with a black mother and Filipino father. He grew up in South Carolina and got his start with indie rock bands including The Heist. He has six studio albums–one of which made it to 123 on the Billboard 200–and three compilation albums and is known for pushing boundaries and experimenting with new sounds.
Toro’s opener was Gilligan Moss, an electronic duo. They took to the small stage which allows artists to be seen no matter the viewer’s location in the crowd. After about an hour and a half of mesmerizing rhythms and psychedelic visuals, Toro came and took the stage.
For a couple hours Toro played some beats and little more. This was unusual as he is primarily known for his more structured indie rock/electronic music. Despite some fun flows here and there the overall performance was monotonous.
Gilligan Moss had set up mainly original beats and ended their set with a performance of some of their songs. This suggested Toro would do the same but instead went down a more basic path.
While fans embraced this, they also wondered if the show would have been more successful with a more traditional style.
“Although his DJ set definitely incorporated a lot of his fast tempo type of beats from his songs very well, I’ll always resonate more with a concert where the artist is performing his classics instead of beats,” Dom Ferrero, a University of Arts student, told The VOICE after the show.
He added, “Regardless, [Toro] is equally talented in both fields and melds them both together excellently.”
Philadelphia resident Bianca Distephano had a similar impression. She said, “I enjoyed his set but was somewhat disappointed by the lack of an actual performance.” She added, “I was excited to finally hear him play his songs that I’ve listened to for so long. I think he would have been better at that.”