Photos By Peter Nguyen, Words By Andy Johnson
With the threat of a global economic apocalypse averted, the belabored people of Washington are ready to get on with their lives. Perhaps it was due to sixteen days of cabin fever, but the 9:30 Club was surprisingly full (albeit not sold out) for Monday’s show featuring Classixx and Toro Y Moi.
The Los Angeles-based DJ duo Classixx returned to the 9:30 Club for their second performance this year. Interestingly, their May show opening for The Presets was their debut as a live act (you know, with actual instruments and singing) outside of their hometown. Since then, Michael David and Tyler Blake have been “constantly trying to improve on a piece of work,” per a recent interview with BYT. The group is most known for their propulsive remixes of songs by Phoenix, Lana Del Rey and Passion Pit, but their debut album Hanging Gardens is one of the best dance-pop records you’ll listen to this or any other year.
Toro Y Moi’s previous jaunt in DC was marred by repugnant openers Wild Belle and Dog Bite. Thankfully Classixx served as a massive upgrade that meshed well with the headliner. The duo, David handling guitars & keys, Blake on vocals and samples, started off their set with the Fleetwood Mac-sampling instrumental “Hanging Gardens” to get the audience into a groove. Following their rendition of Phoenix’s “Lisztomania”, they played “All You’re Waiting For,” featuring the piped-in vocals of Nancy Whang, the disco queen known for her involvement in The Juan Maclean and LCD Soundsystem.
Their stage presence was minimal and they didn’t engage with the crowd much. Mostly, they just stuck to their instruments and delivered a 40-minute, no bullshit set, eventually climaxing with their hit “I’ll Get You”, where a sample of Jeppe from Junior Senior asks “Do you like bass?” Furthermore, it was genius to end the night covering Drake’s mega-hit “Hold On We’re Going Home” only to segue into the nu-disco of “Holding On.” The cheeky mash-up of “Holding On We’re Going Home” came off surprisingly well, and if we’re lucky maybe Drizzy will commission them to do an official remix.
Toro Y Moi, consisting of frontman/keyboardist Chaz Bundick and four bandmates, took the stage promptly at 9:30 and played an 80-minute set ranging from their early chillwave material to songs off 2013’s Anything In Return that place a greater emphasis on rump-shaking. Opening with “Harm In Charge,” the five men played catchy, millennial funk encased in a nebula of fog.
During the group’s dreamy songs, the audience shuffled around, eyes-closed as Bundick and his crew performed “High Living”. The scene would have been so relaxing, if the music weren’t so danceable. Hits like bass-heavy “Studies”, a thunderous version of “So Many Details” and the glorious set-closing “Say That”, complete with a battery of multi-colored, schizophrenic lights, got the audience acting a fool on a school night.
As the group played “New Beat” in the encore, I glanced around and noticed that I’d rarely seen such a multiracial audience at a show. I acknowledge stereotyping is lazy, but one can accurately surmise the dominant pigment at a Fitz & The Tantrums show versus a Pusha T concert. Not this night. Black, white, Hispanic, or Asian: it’s fitting that the biracial Bundick could attract large amounts of people looking for a good time.