With funk, disco, hip-hop and R&B influences, Toro y Moi’s live show ventured through emotional peaks and valleys, with trance-inducing yet self-reflective odes such as “No Show” preceding straight electronic dance tracks such as “Freelance,” the lead single for “Outer Peace,” Bear’s album to be released Jan. 18.
Toro y Moi inspired both contemplation and spontaneity, but that wasn’t the most impressive aspect of the performance. Rather, it was that he did so without interacting with the audience throughout the hour-plus set.
Bear — dressed in the classic hipster uniform of frayed Dickies and Blundstones, along with a bucket hat and an orange turtleneck — and his black-clad bandmates appeared almost stoic the entire evening, save for some smiles Bear cracked when crooning “So Many Details”: “There’s no one else around,” he sang. “I just wanna tease your eyes.”
The fans didn’t seem to care.
Rotating among the keys, his beat pad and solo vocals, Bear played the hits, such as “Girl Like You” and “New Beat,” and mixed in unreleased tracks from his forthcoming album, such as “New House” — “I just want a long shower / I been feeling so crowded,” he sang over a trap beat more reminiscent of Metro Boomin than chillwave.
Toro y Moi’s creative flexibility, enhanced visual aesthetic and fresh take on modern music was on full display. It wasn’t chillwave. It wasn’t pop. It was something else entirely.
If only he had given the audience the encore it wanted.