Concert Reviews

Over The Weekend: Toro y Moi, Unknown Mortal Orchestra and Bass Drum of Death at Dada

Toro y Moi, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Bass Drum of Death
October 7, 2011

Better than:
heading out to any of the Red River Rivalry-related events taking place around town this weekend.

Well before Toro y Moi took to the patio stage at Dada to perform a headlining set and before, even, Unknown Mortal Orchestra got the chance to perform its similarly anticipated offerings in the second slot of the night, trouble seemed brewing at Dada.

Just as opening act Bass Drum of Death was wrapping up its set, the club was visited by the fire marshal. The official's interest was no doubt piqued by the sizable crowd looming out in front of the venue, stretching well down the block, as eager fans lined up to enter the venue.

The good news: Despite over 600 people being in attendance at this show, the venue somehow made it through the night without even being issued a ticket for pretty blatantly breaching its stated capacity.

The better news: The show was pretty incredible, too.

Unknown Mortal Orchestra in particular shined as the crowds finally began to settle into the club and fill the back patio. Jangly, oddball pop was the order of their set, and the band performed their offering gleefully, revving up the audience capably and earning, no doubt, a whole slew of new fans in the process.

But the crowd was here to see Toro y Moi, and the headliners hardly disappointed. Quite the opposite: Having long since outgrown a solo project crafted in mastermind Chaz Bundick's bedroom, the four-piece live outfit shined just as it had in this same exact setting back in March. Once again, they offered an almost defiantly anti-chillwave set on this night, choosing to highlight the more organic aspects of their most recent offerings. The crowd hardly seemed to mind at all; by the third song, the more R&B and funk-inspired fare had pretty much the entire back patio dancing.

The climax came almost two-thirds into the hour-long affair, as Bundick led his band in a stirring rendition of his can't-miss single from earlier this year, "Still Sound." It was almost a euphoric moment, the crowd's bouncing coming in such perfect tandem with the song's nu-disco groove that the whole scene appeared choreographed.

It's here where the new, more organic stylings of the band truly pays off; the crowd seemed more willing to fully let itself go while grooving with a live band than it would've with pre-recorded elements at play. And, really, the band sounded crisp as could be in the process; the rented P.A. Dada uses for its outside shows is modest at best, but Toro y Moi sounded clear as day.

All in all, an affair worth celebrating -- especially in light of the fact that, somehow, the venue was able to host such a large crowd without getting itself into trouble.

Critic's Notebook
Personal Bias:
I've got both Toro y Moi full-lengths, but my favorite track of Bundick's is his hard-to-find cover of Michael Jackson's "Human Nature," which, unfortunately, he didn't play. Oh well.

Random Note: Lots of young 'uns at this show. Good thing Dada is able to do all-ages shows, I guess.

By The Way: 600 people sounds like a lot, but it never really felt uncomfortable on Dada's back patio, which, according to its certificate of occupancy, places its capacity at something like 150 people, I'm told. This show working out so well bodes well for another show at Dada this week that can be expected to be put onto the outdoor stage and draw a large crowd: Thursday's Dawes and Blitzen Trapper show.

KEEP THE DALLAS OBSERVER FREE... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Pete Freedman
Contact: Pete Freedman