Sold-out shows at Emo’s are always a sign that it is going to be a great night. Mix in three bands from different ends of the musical spectrum, and you’ve got yourself a stellar set to look forward to. Performing alongside headliner Toro y Moi was Phil Jones’ Dog Bite from Atlanta and Chicago sibling duo Wild Belle.
The order that the artists performed couldn’t have been more spot-on. Dog Bite kicked off the show and was the perfect warm-up. During their nine-song set, Dog Bite played tracks from debut LP Velvet Changes, which released Feb. 5. Unlike the music Jones created earlier in his career, these tracks have more of a psychedelic pop sound. Track after track made you feel like you were in a dream.
Their opening track “Forever Until” introduced Jones’ breathy, hushed vocals that brings your attention to the lyrics that his voice is attached to. People in the crowd swayed along to the dreamy tunes and bobbed their heads when faster paced tracks like “Prettiest Pills” were played. Their set showed that Dog Bite’s sound is mysterious yet alluring. It prepped the crowd for the next band, Wild Belle.
Wild Belle excites the crowd
Wild Belle is made up of brother/sister duo Natalie and Elliot Bergman. The crowd grew more excited as Wild Belle began to set up for their turn. Wild Belle’s following has only gotten bigger since their appearance at last year’s South by Southwest where they performed at Antone’s. At the time, they only had one released single, “Keep You,” which was a solid enough track to make people want more.
Natalie’s sultry voice is a blend of Adele’s ability to hit harder notes and Amy Winehouse’s powerhouse vocals. Elliot lays it down on the keys and when he switches to the sax is when Wild Belle gets sexy.
Natalie came onto the stage and jumped right into a song. Her moves mimicked her voice in the way that she rocked in unison with her brother’s keys and sax. They played “It’s Too Late” and “Backslider,” two songs from their self-titled EP, along with a few other unknown tracks. Elliot took to the mic as Natalie switched to the keys and he told the crowd with a grin, “there are days where my sister lets me sing one song sometimes.” They closed their set with “Keep You,” their first single release that has a sort of reggae touch to it that made the entire crowd grind to the beat. Wild Belle exited the stage with more than a handful of new fans.
Toro y Moi takes the stage
Headliner Toro y Moi’s stage setup kept their fans waiting a bit, but it was more than worth it. Chaz Bundick came onto the stage looking almost as dapper as Fonzworth Bentley. He was a man of few words throughout the set which ended up being just fine because it meant that there was more time to dance. He began the night with “Rose Quartz,” a track off of his new album Anything In Return and from the get go, the mood was set. Tall, white shades were set up around the stage and the florescent lights bounced off of them creating a funky setting for the fans.
Bundick took a different turn with this album in comparison to Underneath the Pine. It’s almost as if he turned up the beats and took the lyrics down a step. Anything In Return is much more of a fun, carefree album but it’s hard to forget what Underneath the Pine did for its fans, lyrically. Both albums can be appreciated for different reasons and this just makes Toro y Moi that much more interesting to listen to.
The dancing turned up with “Say That” and even more so when the groovy “New Beat” from Underneath the Pine started. Throughout his set, the different genre influences in his tracks were wild. Some tracks had hints of R&B, the chillwave beat came in and out of songs, and all along he never let go of his dreamy synths. Fans danced the entire time, all the way into their two-song encore.
As much as he riled up the crowd, Bundick stuck to his quiet guns and thanked the crowd for coming out. Much like the previous artists, he referenced seeing everyone at SXSW and you could see faces grinning around you.