The Sea and Cake:
Star-struck, I was; seeing The Sea and Cake in the flesh for the first time. Being a fan for years, I was trying to control my enthusiasm as I sauntered in during "The Weekend" off their 2008 release, "Car Alarm". The set was a collection of tunes that I hadn't heard of before and it was getting to me that I would let a new release by them fall by the wayside, until this event.
The minute they finished, I had to buy their new LP "Runner" (2012). It is so fantastic and it translated so well live. I remember dropping the needle and recognizing songs from the show instantly. The room was bustling with 1/2 obvious Sea and Cake fans and people coming in late for Toro Y Moi. The people who were there were just as huge fans as I was. I had my mouth covered with shock the whole time. The tasteful and teasing drum fills settling into surprising grooves from John McEntire (also known for his work with Tortoise and Soma Studios making records for artists like Wilco to Stereolab), the soft falsetto-soul and huffy-rhythmic vocals and guitar-lines trading off between Sam Prekop (also known for his work with, Shrimp Boat) and Archer Prewitt (also known for his work with Coctails and his art in the comic world). But watching the relationship between the bass player, Eric Claridge (also known for his work with Shrimp Boat and for his visual art) and drums was truly exceptional. Lines so completely suited to the songs, giving it a jazz-school approach but never overbearing.
Impressive is an understatement. The show was incredible. The musicianship was top notch, the songs were gorgeous and the energy was ethereal. I was experiencing total bliss. Then I took the feeling home after I bought "Runner" and it is my favourite effort by the band. It has a soothing sound that makes the mind wander through thoughts of contentment of the past and excitement of what's to come.
Toro Y Moi: The last time I saw Toro Y Moi was at Lee's Palace and it was about a year ago. The show was fantastic but I must say that they took it all up a notch this time around. First of all Chaz was rocking a pretty solid fro that you could see through the amazing light show that coordinated with the music. It was big and it was loud, in the best way. He had his usual 3-way set up of his Nord, synths and pedals. He sang fantastically although it was pretty low in the mix for the first half of the set. At times I was thinking, how is he managing all of those synth and vocal lines and I then discovered a guy tucked in the back playing more keys and singing pretty regularly. It was kind of weird how he wasn't up with the rest of the band. Either he is shy or they didn't want to give away all of the secrets!
The band was fantastic. Guitars came off so well. The drums were very present and kept perfectly to the sampled tempos. The bass looked like a lot of fun to play. As the set went on, I felt like the bass and sometimes Chaz were seeming a little tired of playing. That is when the lights got really busy. I would think it would a hard show to play, with the upbeat level maintaining itself from start to finish. We pretty much witnessed a complete dance party for 90mins. That would be tiring. At moments, they lost me and I would find myself thinking, didn't they already play that song about 4 songs ago? ...but overall, I was dancing up a storm and really loving the experience of seeing such amazing work -live. People had their hands in the air for the hits from his most acclaimed records, "Underneath the Pine" (2011) and "Anything in Return" (2013).
I will go ahead and say that this show was and probably will be the best I have seen all year. A bill like that can't fail. I had a smile on my face for days after!