There is something oddly calming about heading to a small, dark basement seemingly unchanged from the 80s with no visible fire exits. Together with a sold-out crowd, this mix probably should’ve made the architect in me a little bit concerned. Heading into Goodgod Small Club last Tuesday night to see Toro Y Moi was probably one of the best things I’ve done this year – this show was close to perfect.
Under the pseudonym of Toro Y Moi, Chaz Bundick is a man that plays with effortless cool. He radiates calm and joy in both personality and music – you can’t help but feel relaxed even with the million things running through your head for work the next day. Albeit a little shy Toro Y Moi, is backed with a trio of equally modest and quiet musicians, and together are very collected. They are incredibly tight with all eyes squarely focused on Bundick.
The chilled out vibe continued into the night as the
beer tracks flowed. The setlist concentrated on Toro Y Moi’s latest release Underneath the Pine with the occasional track from Causers Of This but there was an overwhelming sense of anticipation to hear more of the latter record and when a shorter version of “Talamak” was dropped, there wasn’t a still body in the house. “Still Sound” and “New Beat” were full of vintage soul and “Low Shoulder” was ridiculously fun.
Regardless of how practical a performance, there were numerous edits and seamless transitions you probably wouldn’t get just by listening to a Toro Y Moi record in the same way that dancing by yourself in your own room just isn’t the same. Everyone at Goodgod was simply digging it. There were no dumb hipster crowds or obnoxious drunks to avoid. Toro Y Moi brought the chilled vibes and tunes; we filled the dance floor and brought the moves. The atmosphere wasn’t electric but it was calm, heaps of fun and exactly what I needed.
My apologies for the delay in these photos – I didn’t finish this roll until a fortnight ago. And together with a 120mm roll, they begged me to be developed but my pockets were feeling a little light. By the time they were eventually developed, I fell incredibly ill (and still am). Slopfrenzy was of course at the start of this month and here are the few photos from it.
Grizzly Bear, this visit is long overdue but finally!
My encounter with Grizzly Bear was nothing like their beastly namesake. Brooklyn’s infamous quartet was pitch-perfect, song after song, after song. It felt almost too good to be true but the thought of their demanding touring schedule registered that Becks Festival Bar was just another stop – they must be so used to this that I can’t imagine Grizzly Bear ever missing a beat.
Pardon the cynicism. Last night’s performance was great and I can understand how impressive they are live but every time I turned around, someone in the distance was yawning and since it’s contagious, you can guess who it hit next.
I can however tell you that their hit track from Yellow House, “Knife” left me breathless and “Fine For Now” was blew me away like I never imagined. Grizzly Bear flew through their predominantly Veckatimest-filled set but the song the crowd seemed to savour most was “Two Weeks” (miss you, Victoria Legrand). Four angelic voices so delicately weaved into the one whispy and fragile melodic layer. Unmistakeably soft and luscious that it felt like your favourite pillow … but maybe this is just the exhaustion talking. Towards the close of their set, “Foreground” became this ethereal veil and was simply sublime. To say, I wasn’t convinced or impressed is a lie – there is definitely something quite special about a Grizzly Bear show.
More photos here.
Hailing all the way from Portland (and with a slideshow to prove it) YACHT is a band, a belief system, and a business run by two extraordinary people: musician-and-designer Jona Bechtolt and science-writer Claire L. Evans. They are the force behind See Mystery Lights and the new trinity.
Dressed as polar opposites, the duo finds themselves at ease with the crowd, the stage peripheries and most significantly with each other as they open with “I’m In Love with a Ripper”. The dynamic between Evans and Bechtolt is stunning and electric as they constantly feeding off each other’s energy. Between songs they establish Q&A sessions, discuss a few slides, etc., basically putting lecturers everywhere to shame – we got to know YACHT in real-time and only they would raise the probability of being in the same room with the same people at the one time. Yeah, shit got real deep.
See Mystery Lights is a direct translation of their evolving paradigms; predominantly during the tracks “The Afterlife” and “We Have All We’ve Ever Wanted”. They portray a great sense of spatial awareness perhaps due to their mutli-faceted performance even once transcending into the fourth dimension – YACHT are literally visionary. Capping off their set with “Psychic City (Voodoo City)” was magic with everyone singing and dancing along. Even with a one-song encore of “See a Penny (Pick it Up)”, it couldn’t have been a better way to end a night, let alone a Tuesday night.
Complete photo set is over here.
It was always going to be better seeing a band circled by the audience. It’s a powerful set-up I wish more bands considered. I mean without doing so last night, I think Thee Oh Sees’ performance may have fallen short but it didn’t simply because we felt like part of their set.
It was intimate and felt like a d.i.y show all the way through, which was really comforting. Thee Oh Sees played a short but was nonetheless an intense set with songs from their recent release, Help, as well as a tracks from their earlier EPs including Carol Ann. It was a slice of San Francisco that I wished lasted a little longer. They have a few more shows to go, so if there coming to a town near you definitely try and catch them.
Almost two years ago, I caught an emerging Sydney band at a little party for a Swedish fashion house held where else but at the newly opened Oxford Art Factory. This band is called Songs and they fittingly returned to OAF for the launch of their self-titled release last Thursday night.
Songs have no doubt been one of the busiest bands around with a touring schedule that constantly saw them fill in as support slots. Seeing them headlining was a relief to the many who have caught this band time and time again. I can tell you that they owned it that night. In fact, I can tell you they own each and every set they have played. Yet, something just felt right with the quartet. They were tight and sounded incredibly strong. I guess on the back of their release they sounded polished – resolved and clear. Having evolved before our very eyes, Songs have managed to be the quintessential Sydney band.
A few more photos here.
While the shows have been far and few this year, there are always some that will stay with me forever. I won’t ever say the closure of some prominent Sydney venues is a good thing but it doesn’t mean the end to some of the most interesting and unexpected shows we are yet to witness. I recently took some time out to get the following photos developed from two shows you may/may not have heard about.
The Vivian Girls wrapped up their Australian visit in a small warehouse.
Check out the pre-show videos from the awesome people at Shoot the Player.
Jens Lekman played a birthday party in Five Dock. He was supported by the ever-lovely Geoffrey O’Connor from The Crayon Fields and Sly Hats.
Jen’s released a small mixtape a while ago called “The Summer Never Ends”. Do one thing before summer and download this.