REVIEW: Toro Y Moi at Turner Hall Ballroom

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Photo by Daniel Ojeda

Clad in Pumpkin suits akin to SNL character David S Pumpkins, Toro Y Moi set the stage for a simple set with incredible stage performance. The synthwave artist made sure that Turner Hall was going to dance on Halloween night, and he lived up to that promise. Keeping humble with their on stage presence backed with just two white sheets and some colorful lights, Toro Y Moi performed well and left the audience wanting more

The Band

South Carolina born artists Toro Y Moi aka Chaz Bear has been making music for over nine years. Originally going to school for graphic design, he found a passion for chillwave music when he began associating with a likewise sounding artist, Washed Out. 

Toro Y Moi is not just Chaz Bear but a full ensemble of guitar, bass, synths, keyboard, and drums. The group makes up a collective sound of relaxing but upbeat music that culminates into an incredible live experience. As long as Toro Y Moi has been around they have been changing their sound while never compromising who they are as a band. 

The Experience

This show may have been the most gracious and laidback concert I’ve ever been to. Everything worked on so many levels that it felt the audience was being hypnotized. From the moment Toro Y Moi took to the stage the crowd went wild, but the band’s cool demeanor offset the initial madness of the start of the show. As I previously mentioned before the stage setting was simple, with just the band, two sheets, and some lights. No branding, no introductions, just a couple of guys out there to make music for you. I wouldn’t call it epic by any means, but I would definitely say it was highly entrancing. 

As the show went on Toro Y Moi interacted a bit with the audience highlighting the last time they were in Milwaukee was 5 years ago. It was a welcome return as the ensemble played throughout the show in such an interesting manner, some members switching between instruments as Chaz helmed the vocals. One thing I can’t highlight enough was how honed in the show sounded in almost every part of the venue. You could pick up on all the little nuances in the drum breaks and when Chaz used the autotune. A feature I personally can’t stand but in this case really added to the sound that Toro Y Moi wanted to cultivate. 

One of my biggest takeaways was the crowd’s innate ability to move to the music. Usually, an artist will play with the audience and build hype throughout the entirety of the show. This wasn’t needed at Toro Y Moi. Everyone reacted to each song differently but in unison. I’ve been to a few other chillwave type shows and usually, people sit around enjoying but not much movement. The way that the band had the ability to move everyone as it seemed natural was amazing. The show seemed to end sooner than expected, but it wasn’t until I looked at my watch that they played for over an hour. I was hypnotized by Toro Y Moi, and I didn’t want to leave that place in time. 

The Verdict

A fantastic sounding concert by an artist I feel does not get enough recognition. But then again, maybe that’s not something they want. They all seemed very comfortable on stage and clearly knew what they have in their grasp. It was special and a show I won’t be forgetting anytime soon. The simplicity, crystal clear sound, and ability to control the crowd with their sound is something everyone should experience. 

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Photo by Daniel Ojeda

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