Chillwave leading lights Toro Y Moi
and percussive samplers High Places
took the stage at the Whitney Museum on the UES this weekend to perform for the Whitney Live series.
The line outside of the Whitney, a mixture of concertgoers and people who just wanted to see the exhibitions (an old woman behind me complained the whole way in about the lack of two separate lines for such an occasion), stretched halfway around the block, but moved relatively quickly. Toro Y Moi, who played first, sounded great and filled the small, awkwardly arranged concert space (complete with a huge, stage-blocking pillar right in the middle) with the clear tones of his relatively straightforward brand of hazy pop. It was my first time seeing Chaz Bundick perform his much-blogged material and it prompted me to give his new album, Causers of This
a few more listens.
High Places, who I was really there to see, came on afterwards and did a thankfully brief soundcheck before launching into their set. Having seen the band twice &mdash once at the outdoor P4k fest in Chicago and once in a tiny room at the New Museum with Grouper
&mdash I knew that they could really make the most out of a performance even with the mobile limitations involved in manipulating a smorgasbord of loops and samples. Their set at the Whitney, filled mostly with material off their new album High Places vs Mankind
, felt a little off. Rob Barber, who usually plays an electronic drumpad to exhilarating effect, had even more to do this time out as he played guitar on a few songs and sang some ethereal backup vocals for lead singer Mary Pearson. It's great that High Places are branching out musically, but their new material is a little less compelling to hear in a live setting especially when they're plagued by sound issues (mic feedback lent an aggravating squeal to the end of a lot of songs) and people are packed in a sweltering little courtyard cafe.
Complaints aside, it was a good set followed by a decent one and well worth the trip. The Whitney performance space is a pretty cool area if you're in a good spot to see the show and it's about twenty degrees cooler than it's been in New York this week. A lot of other bands you've probably read about are playing there before the summer is out (DJ/rupture, Bear Hands, Warpaint, etc.) and it's a good place to see them in a low-key, pay-what-you-want venue. Check the full schedule over at the Whitney website. -ben krusling
* * * * * * * * * * * *
Concert: High Places at the FADER Side Show
Toro Y Moi on Myspace
High Places on Myspace