TVD Live: Toro Y Moi and Wild Belle at the 9:30 Club, 2/10

While Sundays are for snuggling with a date hungover in front of the TV watching an Archer marathon, anyone who made it to the sold-out Toro Y Moi show at the 9:30 Club were in for a dance party, whether they liked it or not.  

Joined by Dog Bite and Wild Belle, the club slowly filled with the audience for Toro Y Moi, but those who missed opening band Wild Belle should be punching themselves right now.

As Toro Y Moi took the stage, it looked like a Blinds2Go ad.  Four white panels framed the stage as the crowd filled up extremely tight, uncomfortably so.  It’s exciting to see so many people pumped for a show.  A diverse crowd of jocks, hipsters, and the 24-35, the crowd was a suitable demographic for Myspace advertisements.

Honestly, as I looked around, I did not see as many neon clad youngsters as I expected. Well, lo and behold, those Blinds2Go were a trippy neon background that framed and highlighted the silhouette of each band member. Not the most riveting performers live, this helped add some visual pop to their performance. But this all didn’t matter because what was coming out of those gigantic speakers was pure bliss.

I’m pretty darn sure the last time Toro Y Moi came to DC the show sold out.  Now touring to promote their third album Anything in Return, as Catherine Lewis describes in her Washington Post review as “a collection of laid-back electronic grooves that sound more like a seductive whisper than a raucous dance party,” their live show is the total opposite of this.

They opened with the beat-heavy “Rose Quartz,” and the audience broke into more dancing at a DC show than I’ve seen in a long time. (Granted, I’ve been broke and took a break from going to them, so this might be the norm now; also, I’m old.)  Yeah, “because I feel old”… uh weak, I mean.

Hearing them live finally, I realized how their amalgamation of influence really shape Toro Y Moi’s inventive songs.  In many ways, they are ’80s-freestyle influenced; some songs had a Jackson 5 soul-vibe “New Beat,” for instance, while others were just straight MGMT-style psych-pop.  Their set was masterfully balanced.  Starting out strong with a few dance jams, they folded some slower psych deals in, and built into more explosive fun songs like “Say That” and ” I Can Get Love.” I really could just go on and on about how good this show was.

I was also really excited to see Wild Belle. Man, Natalie is sexy. I was turned onto Wild Belle by fellow blogger and DJ partner William Alberque, and fell in love with her voice. Well, this girl can freaking sing, a soulful Amy-Winehouse-meets-Janis-Joplin’s smokey rasp served straight up.  Most songs have a reggae beat, with electronic steel drums pounding behind her lovely vocals, and the stand-out jam is “Why Can’t I Keep You,” which you should just go listen to right now, it’s so good.

Sadly I missed Phil Jones’, the keyboardist from Washed Out, band Dog Bite due to endless bike trouble and an endless coat check line.  But, Toro Y Moi and Wild Belle definitely stole the show. What did you think? I’d love to read your comments!

WILD BELLE

Photos: Richie Downs

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